U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson amongst speakers at the I.N.Y. Festival 2020 presented virtually from Limerick

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THE fourth instalment of the I.NY Festival has been announced, with the Limerick-based project broadcasting online from December 2nd to 6th at www.thisisINY.com and co-streaming events with partners in both Ireland and New York.

The 2020 I.NY Festival will host a diverse, exciting and challenging collection of conversations and events, presented virtually from Limerick and free to view, including a pivotal, post-US election discussion between U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, and a number of invited young climate and political activists.

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Further events will feature Irish Ambassador to the U.N. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Deborah Treisman of The New Yorker, Booker Prize winners Anne Enright & Roddy Doyle, Impac Prize winner Colum McCann and Pritzker Prize winning architect Shelley McNamara.

Also joining the 2020 Festival will be Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling, choreographer Jean Butler, artist and U2 collaborator Catherine Owens, Lankum’s Radie Peat, photographer Rich Gilligan, Aidan Connolly of the Irish Arts Center NYC, photographer & DJ Brian Cross/B+, Mothers Of Invention’s Thimali Kodikara, Kathryn Lloyd of Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and journalists and broadcasters including Dave Hannigan, Donal Dineen, John Kelly & Peter Curtin, along with New York DJs Qool Marv, Monk One & Miranda Maxwell.

An anchor event within Fáilte Ireland’s Global Irish Festival Series, the I.NY Project explores and celebrates the relationship between Ireland and New York, one story at a time.

The annual I.NY Festival is one of the central elements of the I.NY Project, bringing to life the unique relationship between Ireland and New York, in all its diversity and richness, history and modernity, positivity and difficulty.

Focusing on the personal stories of the Irish in and of New York, I.NY welcomes and tells those stories through conversation and debate, interviews and performances, cultural and political discourse, music, literature, film, fashion, food, sport and arts events. The full 2020 Festival programme is available now at www.thisisiny.com. All events will be streamed at www.thisisINY.com and are free for all to enjoy.

Like so many cultural and artistic projects, I.NY has fought hard throughout 2020 to respond to the demands and forced changes of the coronavirus pandemic.

The necessary move online has created opportunities for the festival to connect with new artists and audiences, and we are delighted to welcome guests such as U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, The New Yorker’s Deborah Treisman and Irish Ambassador to the U.N.

Geraldine Byrne Nason to digital events within the I.NY programme, along with a variety of Irish and Irish American artists, authors, musicians, performers and photographers telling their personal story of the unique experience of a closed and silenced New York City.

Given the opportunity presented by the festival’s move online, and along with its founding partnerships with Fáilte Ireland, Limerick City & County Council and University of Limerick, The I.NY Project is delighted to announce a new partnership with The Consulate General of Ireland New York, and the continuation of the festival’s partnership with New York’s Irish Arts Center (IAC).

Having launched the 2018 and 2019 I.NY Festivals in New York with the Consulate General, I.NY are delighted to partner with them in 2020 to co–curate and present a short series of conversations within the festival programme.

This series features some of Ireland and New York’s most prestigious and prolific voices in art, culture, politics, diaspora and social activism. It also allows I.NY to connect with a new audience in the city, who we hope will join us in person in future years.

The partnership between the Irish Arts Centre and The I.NY Project reflects the fact that both are anchored in the story of the Irish in New York, and the music, dance, theatre, film, literature and conversation that comes from and is inspired by that story.

In 2020, I.NY and the IAC will present online events together celebrating those stories and the people at the heart of them. Four co-curated events in the 2020 I.NY programme will feature renowned performers, promoters, broadcasters and storytellers including Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann, Shelley McNamara, Jean Butler, Catherine Owens, Brian Cross/B+, Radie Peat, and Rich Gilligan, along with a conversation with Aidan Connolly, Director of the Irish Arts Center, discussing the future of the IAC.

The I.NY Festival is part of the Global Irish Festival Series, an initiative of Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The I.NY Festival 2020 is made possible with the generous support of Fáilte Ireland, Limerick City & County Council, University of Limerick, The Consulate General of Ireland New York, Shannon Group, The Irish Times, BDO and the hotels, venues, businesses and audiences of Limerick City, Ireland.

I.NY Festival Founder and Director David O’Donovan said: “Our small team are genuinely delighted to announce details of the 2020 I.NY Festival. It’s been an extraordinary year, and we’re deeply grateful to our friends and colleagues here at home and in New York who have guided and supported us in imagining, undoing, reimagining and eventually staging a 2020 Festival in the best way we can, given the world we currently, temporarily, live in.

“Our intention, as always, is that the I.NY Festival will connect people, cause ideas, start conversations, begin friendships, and entertain audience and artist alike. That feels more important this year than ever before.

“Moving online has meant that we can invite artists and speakers to join us who couldn’t have physically travelled, and that has meant that there are guests in the programme this year that we’ve been hoping to invite to the Festival for some time. We’re greatly looking forward to hearing their stories.

“We’re grateful too for the support, enthusiasm and generosity of thought of our many partners, and really looking forward to welcoming friends, family, guests and audience, from Ireland and New York, back to the festival, even if this year that’s via screen. We’ll see you soon.”

Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals at Fáilte Ireland noted: “In this most challenging year, the need to stay connected with family and friends has never felt more important, whether that was together in our small contact groups, or apart through the many digital ways we’re all now so familiar with.

“As a supporter of I.NY from its beginning, Fáilte Ireland are delighted to see the festival re-imagined so successfully as an online event for 2020, and encouraged that the organisers have been able to shape such a diverse, interesting and high-calibre programme.

“I.NY 2020 certainly gives our friends, family and audiences, both at home and abroad, great reason and opportunity to connect virtually this December, as we all look forward to being together in person again in Ireland in 2021.”

Ciarán Madden, Consul General of Ireland New York, said; “In these times when we cannot connect in person, we have to work harder to maintain trans-Atlantic links. I.NY have created a programme with something to interest everyone, cut right through the zoom-fatigue and celebrate the depth and breadth of Ireland-New York connections, historical and current, political, cultural and more.”

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins said: “I.NY gives a perfect platform to discuss our relationship, past and present with New York and indeed the wider United States.

“While we’re unable to welcome visitors to Limerick this year, we can welcome them virtually and I am looking forward to the electric range of events taking place during the online 2020 festival. I.NY has grown in stature over the past number of years into what is becoming a valued and growing festival in Limerick.”

Professor Kerstin Mey, President University of Limerick, said of the Festival: “The University of Limerick is pleased to partner in the forthcoming I.NY Festival 2020. Building on our strong Alumni and Foundation relations to New York, we are delighted to contribute with our expertise to what promises to be vibrant cultural exchanges and celebrations.”

Mary Considine, CEO Shannon Group plc, which operates Shannon Airport and Shannon Heritage visitor attractions said: “We are proud to once again sponsor I.NY in 2020. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic it is wonderful to see this festival continue the spirit and tenacity that connects Ireland and New York.

“We look forward to the future welcoming of NY visitors to Shannon Airport and our Limerick heritage icon, King John’s Castle, to experience its story of resilience spanning 800 years.”

News and updates from I.NY Festival can be found on the usual social media channels @thisisINY #INYFestival