The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, is currently in New York to meet with representatives of Irish Cultural Centres of North America, to visit the Irish Arts Centre (currently under re-development) and to formally present the Cultural Ambassador emblem to Paul Muldoon.
Today at the Irish Consulate General in New York Minister Madigan will convene a meeting of the Network of Irish Cultural Centres of North America (NICCoNA), with representatives from centres extending from Los Angeles to Toronto. The Minister will discuss the Global Ireland 2025 initiative and how the Centres can cooperate to advance the key elements of the initiative.
In addressing the Network, Minister Madigan acknowledged the important role played by Irish cultural centres in the connection they provide for the Irish diaspora of 70 million people – the Irish and those of Irish descent who live in the US and wish to stay connected with Ireland, its culture and heritage:
The Government wishes to strongly connect with its people based abroad and values the role they play in representing our country. We are a small nation but we have strength in our people who are dispersed globally and carry their Irish heritage with pride. It is for this reason the Irish Government has invested in the Irish Arts Center in New York, which I will visit later today. The centre provides a critical platform for Irish artists in this cultural capital. You can count on the continued support of the Irish Government for permanent cultural facilities in key global cities. I will work closely with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in seeing how best we can support other centres globally.
Many of the cultural centres meeting the Minister today have benefitted from Culture Ireland’s support in bringing Irish artists to North America. Global Ireland 2025 will support the work of Culture Ireland over the next seven years in bringing Irish culture and Irish artists to the world. Investment in the work of Culture Ireland is critical to ensure that the work of Irish artists is introduced to new audiences and to keep our diaspora connected with contemporary Ireland.
In addressing the Network, Minster Madigan also raised another unique aspect of our Irish culture and heritage – our national language – and its continued revival both at home and abroad. Minister Madigan said:
The Irish language remains close to the hearts of our people both at home and abroad. Indeed, through the financial support of my Department, it is now taught at over 40 third level institutions worldwide. I am deeply appreciative of the work that the Irish Cultural Centres do in teaching and promoting the Irish language on the North American continent.
Minister Madigan will also meet with Paul Muldoon while in New York to formally present him with his letter of appointment and silver emblem as Cultural Ambassador (the emblem, by silversmith Seamus Gill, is based on the treasured boat of the Broighter hoard held in the National Museum, on which the Culture Ireland logo is modelled).
Speaking in advance of meeting Paul, Minister Madigan said:
Earlier this week I progressed one of the initiatives under Global Ireland – the appointment of five cultural ambassadors. The Cultural Ambassadors include architects, an actor, musician and a poet, Paul Muldoon. I greatly appreciate Paul accepting this role, and I know that he will play an enthusiastic part in raising the profile of Irish culture here in the US and beyond.
Global Ireland is aiming to double Ireland’s footprint globally by 2025 though a mix of actions in the cultural, diplomatic, business, education and tourism areas. Ireland’s strong reputation for culture and creativity is central to the initiative, which proposes a number of actions to enhance the promotion of Ireland’s culture globally, including the appointment of Cultural Ambassadors. The new Cultural Ambassador positions will see high-profile figures from Ireland’s arts and culture community promote Ireland globally as part of the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 initiative.
While in New York, Minister Madigan was also invited to visit the Irish Repertory Theatre (132 W 22nd Street) to view a rehearsal of the O’Casey season of plays, and to see the theatre’s current production of “The Dead”.
Notes to Editors
In 2010 the Government appointed Gabriel Byrne as the first "Cultural Ambassador" to assist with the promotion of Imagine Ireland, a yearlong arts programme in the US in 2011.
The Cultural Ambassadors will endeavour to raise the public focus on arts and culture as a means of promoting Ireland globally, provide advice and input on strategic cultural initiatives and participate in key events and projects.
Master musician and founding member of The Gloaming, Martin Hayes, leading architects, Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects, award winning actress Ruth Negga and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon have all accepted the role of Cultural Ambassador for a period of three years.
Further appointments of Cultural Ambassadors may be made over time in line with the Government's geographic and other priorities.
Paul Muldoon - biography
Paul Muldoon was born in County Armagh in 1951. He now lives in New York. A former radio and television producer for the BBC in Belfast, he has taught at Princeton University for thirty years. He is the author of twelve collections of poetry including Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), for which he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize, as well as Selected Poems 1968-2014 (2016). Roger Rosenblatt, writing recently in The New York Times Book Review, described Paul Muldoon as
one of the great poets of the past hundred years, who can be everything in his poems - word-playful, lyrical, hilarious, melancholy. And angry. Only Yeats before him could write with such measured fury.