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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Irish Scenery a Star in New BBC Television Series, Normal People

County Sligo’s breathtaking scenery  and  Dublin’s historical landmarks are bit hits on the new BBC television series, Normal People, which began airing this week on BBC and on the online streaming platform Hulu.  

The series is a TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s popular novel Normal People.

Tourism Ireland – in conjunction with production company Element Pictures – has created a short, behind-the-scenes film using footage shot during filming for Normal People, in which director Lenny Abrahamson, producer Catherine Magee and actress Daisy Edgar-Jones (Marianne) describe and praise the special locations chosen for filming.

To view the behind-the-scenes film, click here.

Filming for the highly anticipated 12-part TV series took place here in 2019 – on Streedagh Beach, at Ben Bulben and in Tubbercurry, in Sligo. The Dublin scenes were filmed in a number of real-life locations, including bars, cafés and streets – with much of the drama unfolding in Trinity College Dublin, where the characters Marianne and Connell, played by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, go to university.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said,  “We are extremely grateful to Element Pictures for their generosity in agreeing to make this behind-the-scenes film with us. It allows us to keep the beauty of Ireland to the fore and to showcase our authentic home-grown talent. While we may not be able to travel just now, this film will inspire people for their future visit.”

In the behind-the-scenes film, director Lenny Abrahamson praises Ireland, saying: “It felt wonderful to be bringing such an amazing novel to life in the country where I’m from and in the landscapes which I love and know so well, both urban and rural.”

Speaking about Sligo, Daisy Edgar-Jones, who plays Marianne, said: “One of my favourite places to film would probably have been Sligo. It was just the most jaw-dropping entrance to any place I’ve ever experienced. When you see Ben Bulben in the distance, it’s just immense.”

Follow news from Ireland on twitter at #DreamNowTravelLater.

Find out more about visiting Ireland here.

For information about New England's Irish-American community visit

Friday, April 24, 2020

Tourism Ireland Video, I Will Return - Fill Your Heart with Ireland

Tourism Ireland has released a new video - I Will Return, Fill Your Heart with Ireland - reminding people of the magic of Ireland.

The 50 second spot highlights Ireland's beautiful landscapes and seascapes, its back roads and magnificent cliffs, its historical castles and and streams and lakes.  The theme is #DreamNowTravelLater.

Read more about the Fill Your Heart with Ireland campaign.

Here are more ways to Discover Ireland from Home.

For an archives of stories about Ireland for New Englanders, visit the Boston Irish Tourism Association's Ireland page.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The World's Largest Collection of Free Online Traditional Irish Music Performances

The world's largest collection of traditional Irish music video recordings is available online from TG4, a public service television channel which broadcasts in Irish and is available free across Ireland. 

Click here to see the entire playlist.

Among the traditional musicians featured are fiddler Junior Crehan, tin whistle player Mary Bergin and fiddler/flutist Frankie Gavin.

TG4 also presents the annual Gradam Ceoil Awards to the world's top traditional Irish musicians. In 2020, Irish fiddler Seamus Connolly received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.  Connolly's important Collection of Irish Music is housed at Boston College's John J. Burns Library.

Locally, you can learn more about traditional Irish music by visiting Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann's Boston chapter, which holds regular sessions and performances, and offers educational classes.

For year-round access to New England's Irish community, visit

Americans Can Discover their Irish Roots online

Tourism officials in Ireland are encouraging Irish-Americans to discover their Irish family history online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A good place to start your quest is the National Archives of Ireland, where you can access census and other records through 11 searchable databases.

In addition, holds Church and civil records of births, deaths and marriages and also provides links to several other useful websites.

Another great resource is, which has over 20 million records in the most extensive database of Catholic Church records anywhere online.

View The Odyssey of Irish Genealogy video below.

For Americans have Ulster-Scots roots, visit Ulster Historical Foundation. Video tutorials on the site for suggestions on how to proceed.

The Ireland Family History Facebook page is an invaluable resource where you can ask questions and be inspired by other people’s success.

When visiting Ireland, check out The Irish Emigration Museum (EPIC) in Dublin. It tells the authentic story of 10 million journeys and uncovers the roots of 70 million people through a hi-tech journey that shows the impact of Ireland’s emigrants across the globe.

Epic Ireland also contains an Irish Family History Centre operated by genealogical specialists, who offer family tree DNA testing kits so visitors can learn about their Irish roots. To get a flavor of what EPIC is about, take a virtual tour. With embedded audio and video descriptions about each gallery, the tour will transport you into Ireland’s dramatic emigration story and increase your pride in being part of the great Irish diaspora.

You can find more genealogy resources at

For more about the Irish-American cultural community in New England, visit

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Boston's JFK Library Offers Inspiring Digital Materials from Archives & Museum Holdings

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston has launched a weekly email digest filled with opportunities for individuals and families to learn or be inspired by material from the JFK Library's collections, as well as educational material for parents and educators to use at home. 

Items from the Library's archival and museum holdings are being posted through JFK Library's social media channels, including TwitterFacebook, and Instagram under the hashtag #JFKLfromHome. 

"President Kennedy believed deeply that each of us can make a difference and everyone should try," said JFK Foundation Executive Director Rachel Flor.  "Never has that been more true than right now. We thank you for everything you are doing for your family, community, and the country and look forward to connecting with you over email and online in the days to come."

Irish Dance Master Class is Available through AirBnB

An Irish Master Dance Class from Salthill, County Galway, is one of several dozen online experiences being introduced by Airbnb

The Irish dance class is being led by Irish dancer Aneta, who writes on her page:

"I'm a professional dancer, musician, and educator who loves teaching. I taught workshops at the world's largest Celtic music festival (Celtic Connections), worked with the world-renowned Irish band Kíla, and toured Europe and US.

“I've hosted in-person Airbnb dance experiences in my home here in Ireland. They're among the most popular experiences in Galway. I believe dance is a powerful tool for human expression that can improve people's mental health and happiness. I’d like to use dance as a platform to bring together people of various social backgrounds and nationalities. Learning dance in my late teens, I still remember how it feels in the beginning! So come relax, learn, dance, and enjoy yourselves!”

The class is conducted online, and is $11 per class per person. Once participants book, they receive a link with details on how to join the class.  

Find a whole range of Airbnb online experiences - from cooking and yoga to music and writing - now available.

For information on New England's Irish-American community, visit