Celebrating the first four years

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Deputy Consul General Anna McGillicuddy congratulated the Irish American Writers & Artists on their 100th salon.[/caption]


By John Kearns and Karen Daly

We had much to celebrate at the Cell Theatre on Sept. 15. Our 100th Manhattan Salon featured readings and performances of works developed over the Salon’s first four years and a retrospective of IAW&A Salon photographs by Cathleen Dwyer.

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The Consulate General of Ireland/New York, represented by Anna McGillicuddy, Deputy Head of Mission, congratulated IAW&A on the occasion. Origin Theatre Company's Artistic Director George C. Heslin welcomed the IAW&A Salon to its prestigious 1st Irish Theatre Festival this year.

And Salon founder Malachy McCourt returned after a brief absence this summer. Malachy’s presence and performance meant a lot to everyone in the SRO house, as he truly is our guiding spirit.

IAW&A Treasurer John Kearns produced and hosted the 100th Salon as a curated program of fiction, memoir, poetry, music, dance, visual and performance arts. Cathleen Dwyer, special events, portrait and urban landscape photographer, has taken photographs at the Salon since the early days. Tonight we enjoyed a slideshow of over 100 striking pictures from the first four years. Cat also photographs concerts and does headshots for performers. She is always available for hire and offers discounts to IAW&A members. To purchase prints and see more of her work, go to

Sarah Fearon has shared her comedy routines with us since the beginning of the IAW&A Salon. Her play "Ted Talks NYC" was developed from her comedy and won first prize at the Short Play Festival at the Players Theatre this summer. From tonight’s sample we can see why: Sarah was fiery, funny and profound.

Frequent Salon reader Tom Mahon has presented fiction, poetry, film and even a children's book. He credits the Salon with helping him complete his novel. “Unforgivable,” a tragic story with a shocking ending, is a vignette from his collection “Tomorrow Never Came.” Tom told it with his usual dramatic force.

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Malachy McCourt addressed the audience.[/caption]

Mary Pat Kelly is author of the best-selling novel “Galway Bay,” and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She charmingly described her Chicago Irish roots and her research for her latest novel, “Of Irish Blood,” excerpts of which she had debuted at salons.

Author and filmmaker Colin Broderick delivered a knockout piece about his development as a writer. He has written two memoirs, “Orangutan” about his first 20 years in New York City and “That's That” about his early life in Northern Ireland. He is now editing the collection “The Writing Irish of New York.”

Speaking of knockout pieces, Honor Molloy described her childhood journey from Dublin to America and finding encouragement for her work in New York’s Irish-American community. Author of “Smarty Girl: Dublin Savage,” playwright and instructor, Honor has been a regular contributor since the start of the Salon in her living room!

Cathy Maguire originally from Dundalk, Co. Louth, showcased her talents as a singer/ songwriter. Her beautiful country song “Portrait” looks at an old wedding picture and wonders how the couple’s life turned out. In addition to her country album made in Nashville, her “Ireland in Song” explores the top 10 most famous Irish ballads. Irish-born guitar virtuoso, Damien Kelly accompanied Cathy and we hope to hear more of his work. Find him at

At a fall 2011 Salon, Mary Lou Quinlan read her earliest work on “The God Box,” a loving tribute to her late mother. She turned that book into a New York Times bestseller website and mobile app. And with theater veteran, Martha Wollner, performances of her one-woman play "The God Box, A Daughter's Story,” around the U.S., Ireland and at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014, have raised over $300,000 for charities. Brava, Mary Lou!

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Origin Theatre Company's George Heslin at the 100th salon, which was part of the 2015 1st Irish Festival.[/caption]

Poet Megan O’Donnell describes her poems as “…attempts to deal with the complexities of gender, race, violence, and survival through the lens of poetry.” They were “Letter to a Young Man,” “Survival Guide,” “Window Shopping,” “Make Waves,” and a haiku “When. ” The multitalented Megan is award-winning writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction and lyricist for the jam band Sofus.

In another example of work debuted at a Salon, Maura Mulligan performed sean nos stepdancing for the first time at a Bar Thalia earlier this year. Just a few months later, in August, she won third-place medal in the All-Ireland sean nos competition in the Fleadh Ceoil in Sligo. Trad musician Patty Furlong accompanied Maura on the button-accordion. Patty is a winner of All-Ireland titles and founding member of the world famous Cherish the Ladies traditional music group.

More congratulations to Mary Lannon. Her story, “Frank N. Stein,” first presented at a Salon became her first publication in It tells of a young woman’s quest to leave an imagined monster behind her, for those imaginary monsters can the hardest to shake.

The “fiercely talented “ (according to no less than the New York Times) Maxine Linehan introduced the song “I Think of You” by Andrew Koss and Bob Stillman at a Salon. The song, about the trials and tribulations of life in New York City, is now a standard part of her repertoire. Accompanied on piano by her husband Andrew Koss, Maxine also performed a tender rendition of U2’s “Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own.” You can catch her solo show on Oct. 17 at

Larry Kirwan, IAW&A President, premiered a beautiful new song, “Floating My Way Back to You,” written about his great-grandfather, a Wexford sea captain, whose ship went down off Cornwall in 1898.

And it was only fitting that the great Malachy McCourt, author and raconteur brought the 100th Salon celebration to a close with story and song. Recently sidelined with a leg injury, Malachy, as Tom Mahon notes, was “…in rare form last night after escaping his current confinement.”

Numerous other artists credit the IAW&A Salon with encouraging and offering a supportive environment to present their work and fostering a sense of community. Some of them include John Brennan, John Cappelletti, Kathleen Donohoe, Kathleen Frazier, John Kearns, Maura Knowles, Margaret McCarthy and Vivian O’Shaughnessy.

On the occasion of 100th IAW&A Salon, may we take this space to thank all IAW&A members and Salon goers and volunteers for their participation, encouragement and support. Special thanks to the hardworking staff at The Cell Theatre. More about IAW&A Salons at

Please note the next Salon is on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. at Bar Thalia on West 95th Street at the corner of Broaday. And get your tickets now for our big annual bash. For fast and easy ticket purchases: 2015 Eugene O'Neill Award honoring Patricia Harty of Irish America magazine Monday, Oct. 19, 2015 at 6 p.m. at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O'Grady's, New York. Go to for tickets.