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Christmas Greetings

Christmas is coming and, like Brexit, we can’t stop it (some think we can but…). It’s a very busy time of the year for our staff especially in the party season. Unfortunately the holidays themselves pose problems for us in the city centre because we have no public transport whatsoever. That’s why we have decided to close both Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s (Boxing Day) as well as New Year’s Day. Here are our opening times, which are also available on the website and our flyers in the club:

To lighten the mood we have some special entertainment in December I’d like to tell you about. On Sunday 9th December, Michael Coyne makes a welcome return from his base in Liverpool. He is a very special artist – a great singer and a fantastic accordion player. His records are featured regularly on Radio City and Ireland West. This show is in the bar and there is no entry charge so there is no excuse to stay away. There are even some special Christmas prices on the bar and a few nibbles as well.

There’s another free show in the bar on Saturday 29th when Alan “Acker” Atkinson is back in the North East. Alan was our guitarist in the Beggarmen for many years touring Ireland, France and Germany and doing memorable shows on Tyne Tees TV. Since he moved to Surrey he has broken into the Irish scene in South London and was a headliner at the recent Crawley Irish Festival. Peter Desmond, Alan and myself on the fiddle are “the last of the Beggarmen” but we hope our old banjo maestro, Johnny Walker might be with us for some of the night.

Finally, I’d like to highlight our “end of year” show (as explained elsewhere we aren’t doing a New Year’s Eve traditional night – we close at 6pm after the Monday Karaoke). Instead we have booked Nicky James to do a special end of the year show on Sunday 30th in the Concert Room. Nicky is a Dublin lad with a huge repertoire of Irish, pop, rock and country: a tremendous performer and the night is a give-away at £3. By the way, if you like Nathan Carter, now Ireland’s number one attraction, Nicky James is the guy who set him on the road to stardom.

At this time of the year our thoughts turn to friends of the Irish centre who are not in the best of health at the moment. Mary Stephenson, our recent vice-chair, is recovering from a serious operation in Rake Lane hospital; John Limer who was a stalwart of Irish dancing and set dancing for years, is in poor health but well cared for at home; Father Pat O’Connell is recuperating in the care of the Little Sisters in Westmorland Road. Our sincere best wishes to them and all our other members who are suffering at this time.

New Year means new memberships and we do value your renewals and continued support. We will be taking renewals in the office on Fridays and Saturdays between 6.30pm and 8pm and two hours before NUFC home games until the 28th February. Our fees are unchanged at £5 renewals, £3 Senior (65+) and £10 and £7 for new members. Life members are those over 70 with 20 years continuous membership but they still must renew.

I’ll be writing another blog before Christmas so please email me at tyneirishcentre@btconnect if you have a question, a suggestion or a bit of news you wish to share.

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