Kearns and Toibin to feature in the American 2016 commemorative line-up

By Esther Hayden

Irish actor Liam Neeson and Kiltealy man Anthony Kearns at the launch of Ireland 100 in the Kennedy Centre in New York.
Irish actor Liam Neeson and Kiltealy man Anthony Kearns at the launch of Ireland 100 in the Kennedy Centre in New York.

Wexford men Anthony Kearns and Colm Toibin will be feature in this year's American 2016 commemorative line-up.

Launched in New York last week Ireland 100 will celebrate a century of Irish arts and culture. Taking place in the Kennedy Centre the major festival will highlight Irish culture and its relationship to America. Curated by Alicia Adams, Vice President of International Programming and Dance, the three week festival includes dozens of performances from some of Ireland's best contemporary musicians, dancers, theatre companies, and more.

Taking place from May 17 until June 5 events will include free daily Millennium Stage performances; a literature series featuring discussions with more than 20 Irish writers; film screenings; culinary events, such as whiskey and beer tastings and chef demonstrations; educational activities, including workshops with several participating artists; and an open playwriting challenge as part of Tiny Plays for Ireland and America.

The Ireland 100 festival coincides with a larger global celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, which led to Ireland's independence. As America's national cultural centre, the Kennedy Centre is also a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, the most well-known Irish American President and the first sitting American President to visit Ireland.

As part of the festival tenor Anthony will perform with Tara Erraught at a very special concert on May 23. This will be a magical evening of music with two world class singers taking centre stage.

Meanwhile Enniscorthy's Colm Toibin will form part of a panel discussion on Irish literature during the literature series of the festival which takes place during the final week. This series, devised by Maureen Kennelly of Poetry Ireland and Paul Muldoon, will offer a well-rounded set of panels: A Conversation with Colum McCann, Ireland's Laureates Anne Enright and Paula Meehan, Food Poems, Foremost Irish Language Poets with Iarla Ó'Lionáird, Eavan Boland in Conversation with Colm Tóibín, and Paul Muldoon's Picnic featuring Kevin Barry and Joseph O'Connor. These panel discussions feature more than 20 writers, including Kevin Barry, Eavan Boland, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Anne Enright, Colum McCann, Paula Meehan, Paul Muldoon, Joseph O'Connor, Iarla Ó'Lionáird, and Colm Tóibín, among others.

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