Derry Girls star Siobhan McSweeney and comedian, writer and actress Aisling Bea were at the Irish Embassy in London to launch the 2020 St. Brigid’s Festival with musical performances and panel discussions on a range of topics.
Check out our video below that features chats with Siobhan as well as Alice Kennedy from London Irish Pensioners Choir, Roisin Seoighe, Melanie Simpson from The Irish Jam and Lisa Lambe
Derry Girls star Siobhan McSweeney and comedian, writer and actress Aisling Bea were at the Irish Embassy in London to launch the 2020 St. Brigid’s Festival with panel discussions on a range of topics. Announcing the commencement of the festival on the eve of Brexit, Ambassador Adrian O’Neill said, “We are determined to get Brigid done.”
There was music from London Irish Pensioners Choir, Roisin Seoighe, Lisa Lambe and a DJ set from Melanie Simpson.
Siobhan McSweeney told The Irish World: “It’s absolutely wonderful to be here, this is the third year that the Irish Embassy in London has run an event, a celebration of not only Saint Brigid but of women in various disciplines where we can all go into different rooms in this beautiful embassy and listen to experts in their fields of literature, diplomacy, science and hear from these women who work in the business. It’s a great privilege and they’ve asked me to MC. I don’t know why. There has to be one flaw in every perfect evening.”
On the Irish community in London, Siobhan said: “I am an Irish woman who happens to live in London. I feel a great pride in being Irish but especially being in London, there’s such a huge tradition of the London Irish here and of all the various generations.
“What was particularly wonderful about tonight was hearing the London Irish Pensioners Choir alongside incredible young performers and scientists doing their thing. It makes you very proud to be Irish but also shows the wealth of experience and diversity in age and lives that are here.
“The only way I can justify any level of profile is try to do good with it. There are issues that if somebody’s going to shine a light and a microphone, I can lend my voice for people who don’t have that voice. If I can do anything to help, I will of course.”
Asked if she was at all surprised by the huge success of Derry Girls, Siobah said: “I was very surprised. You always hope something is going to go well but you can never ever tell. The audience is a wily thing, you can never bank, you can never be too confident. I did know that I had a wonderful time filming it and I did know the scripts were extraordinary and I knew that I laughed every day but you can never tell until it’s out into the audience. And we were incredibly lucky with our audiences. They’re so loyal, they’re so diverse, they’re from every country. I think it’s testament to the power of Lisa McGee’s writing.”
Alice Kennedy of the London Irish Pensioners told The Irish World: “I thought it was a great pleasure for the London Irish Pensioners Choir to be invited here tonight. It’s our first time here for Saint Brigid.
“It was a pleasure, it was lovely to come here tonight and a lot of people have remarked how nice it was to have us singing here. It was a lovely evening.”
The festival continued with events at London Irish Centre and Hammersmith’s Irish Cultural Centre. The Irish World was at Regent Street Cinema on Sunday for the London premiere of A Girl From Mogadishu. Check out our video from that here.