THE DIARY: Irish eyes smile with new city project

The Shamrock Band strike up a tune
The Shamrock Band strike up a tune
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THERE’S a band called The Shamrocks playing songs by The Pogues. There are potato skins for lunch. There’s a man in a green tie talking about Limerick.

This may be a community centre in Sheffield, but, today, here in an area once labelled Little Ireland, it feels like stepping back to the ‘old country’.

Dozens of city folk – all Irish or of Irish descent – have gathered to share stories and photos in an attempt to record the experiences of those who left the Emerald Isle for South Yorkshire during the 20th century.

It will result in an online archive going live in 2013.

“Sheffield’s Irish population is about 15,000 but it’s also f airly invisible,” says Laura Page, who is running the scheme through Meersbrook documenting company Out/Side/Film. “It was based around Solly Street but now it’s dispersed. The Irish came to work here and we want to ensure that social history isn’t lost.”

That’s why she is holding regular sessions at St Vincent’s Catholic Men’s Society Club with people invited to go and share.

“My dad brought us to live in Parson Cross when I was five,” says one, Mary Rogerson, 73, of Richmond. “Sheffield’s lovely but you must remember your roots.”

For details of future session call Laura on 07886 245477.