Events

Cork showcase for Indigenous chefs

Indigenous Australian chefs have shown off their culinary skills at Cork’s 2019 food festival.

Hundreds of attendees at A Taste of West Cork food festival relished the opportunity to sample Australian cuisine with a focus on native ingredients, from kangaroo and kingfish to Kakadu plum and wild hibiscus.

The Australian Ambassador to Ireland Richard Andrews selected four chefs from the National Indigenous Culinary Institute, Joshua Moore, David Gray and Sam and Luke Bourke, for the opportunity.

The fine dining school has offered Kunja and Barkindji man Mr Moore a career turnaround.

“Before this I was busking on the street, just surviving.

“Now, I am in the kitchen learning new skills.”

Luke Bourke was one of four Indigenous chefs selected to perform cooking demonstrations for festival-goers.

Luke Bourke was one of four Indigenous chefs selected to perform cooking demonstrations for festival-goers.

The chefs each undertake apprenticeships as part of their culinary study program, gaining experience in exclusive host restaurants including Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar and Grill and Sydney waterfront institution Catalina.

Trainees have had the chance to prepare meals for Australian prime ministers and the inimitable British restauranteur Marco Pierre White, but NICI director Rod Harys said introducing Australia’s flavours to the people of Ireland “was a fantastic highlight”.

“Along with the experiences of seeing a beautiful country, they were able to get outside of their comfort zone, adapt to new surroundings and…educate people on their Indigenous culture.”

A Taste of West Cork chairperson Hellen Collins agreed that the chefs were a “credit” to their mentors, the NICI and their country.

“Everybody in West Cork wanted to meet them…the guys worked so hard but they did manage to get a little time on the sea fishing for the foraging dinner.”

Sam Bourke, Luke Bourke, Joshua Moore and David Gray catered for guests at a dinner held in a Cork church.

Sam Bourke, Luke Bourke, Joshua Moore and David Gray catered for guests at a dinner held in a Cork church.

Ms Collins said festival-goers raved about the chefs’ use of bush tucker spices and ingredients such as finger lime pearls, described by connoisseurs as the caviar of the citrus world.

The annual two-week Cork affair sees more than 250 events including banquets and food markets take place in 50 towns and villages.

The Australian chefs’ inclusion was part of a long-term plan to increase NICI representation on the world stage.





New support network for expat Irish women

Irish women in Australia have found a new network of support through the work of one Dublin-born mother.

After a decade living in Australia, having made the move at 24, Sarah Whelan returned to Ireland for less than two years before deciding to journey back to Sydney, which she realised had become her home.

When the certified transitional life coach touched down she began to share her experiences of leaving and returning online, and expat Irish women flocked to her blog.

“People were really identifying with the things I was feeling,” Ms Whelan said.

“Women identified with the emotional impact…the guilt in leaving family behind.”

Irish Women Abroad founder Sarah Whelan aims to coach women through difficult transitions in their lives.

Irish Women Abroad founder Sarah Whelan aims to coach women through difficult transitions in their lives.

Ms Whelan was inspired to create Irish Women Abroad, an online support network to meet growing demand for answers and advice.

More than 3,000 network members, the majority of whom are Irish-Australian, provide everything from a shoulder to lean on to suggestions regarding every challenging aspect of emigration, from leaving relatives to transporting pets.

It was not long before the community moved off the internet and into the real world.

A recent Sydney meet-up was opened by the Irish Consulate in Sydney’s Vice Consul Rory Conaty, with the Consulate’s funding helping Ms Whelan - whose work with the network is voluntary - to organise events.

The Sydney Irish mission has provided support to Irish Women Abroad since its team members discovered Ms Whelan’s blog.

Sydney meet-up attendees enjoyed a reading from award-winning Irish poet Anne Casey.

Sydney meet-up attendees enjoyed a reading from award-winning Irish poet Anne Casey.

Award-winning Irish poet Anne Casey has recently joined the network after 25 years in Australia, saying she immediately saw the potential for members to bond over shared emigration experiences.

“It’s the empty chairs at birthday parties…it’s the call in the middle of the night when a family member has died.

“You don’t have to explain anything.”

The next meet-up will be held in Melbourne in November, and with an event already planned for returning expats in Ireland, there could be opportunities for further international expansion.

Ms Whelan hopes the “safe spaces” she has created continue to help women find their feet wherever they decide to resettle.

“My vision is for people to feel connected in their experiences…there’s no right or wrong way to feel.”

Meath singer Sibéal to perform at Sydney's Zone Out Festival

An up-and-coming Irish songstress has released her debut album ahead of a trip down under.

County Meath native Sibéal Ní Chasaide will perform repertoire from her self-titled work at Sydney’s Zone Out Festival at the end of September, joining an international line up with her fresh take on Irish folk.

Sibéal is an unexpected star in the 2019 music scene, introducing audiences worldwide to sean-nós, the traditional and emotive style of singing in Ireland's Gaeltacht.

Sibeal_Press_2.jpg

The 21-year-old has said of her unique sound, “I like…bringing the contemporary edge to sean-nós singing.

“That’s who I am essentially, I’m not just a one-dimensional person.”

She also performs songs in English with Blackbird and The Parting Glass nestled among the tunes sung as Gaeilge, ensuring the eponymous album’s universal appeal.

Sibéal rose to prominence as a school student when renowned composer Patrick Cassidy heard her sing and invited her to perform vocals for a centenary documentary, 1916: The Irish Rebellion.

Sibéal discusses her journey to success.

Her live performance of Mise Éire - the moving centrepiece of the score - with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra cemented her status as one to watch.

She has since recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios and shared her voice with audiences in the United States, Canada and the UK, accustomed to the touring life after spending her childhood travelling with her father and uncles’ Irish folk band.

Sibéal has been called a young woman of the new Ireland returning Irish music to the international arena.

The Zone Out Festival features international and Australian neo-classical artists, yoga sessions, panel discussions and film screenings.

The event takes place at Carriageworks on Saturday, September 28.

Irish tech firm lists on Australian Stock Exchange

An Irish software company has taken out the title of Australia’s largest foreign stock market listing of the year.

FINEOS has raised $211 million in initial public offering, and was celebrated with Irish performers and the ringing of the opening bell at the Australian Securities Exchange.

The leading tech company provides software systems to the life, accident and health insurance industry for core process administration, digital engagement capabilities, and data analytics.

Speaking at the listing ceremony, FINEOS founder and CEO Michael Kelly said, “Being Irish in Australia is always a great thing…but you guys have made this very special.”

“We’ve bought our leadership team from Ireland down…this is really the start of the next chapter of our journey.”

FINEOS founder Michael Kelly rang the opening bell at the ASX.

FINEOS founder Michael Kelly rang the opening bell at the ASX.

The ASX approached FINEOS two years ago to propose the listing.

Six of Australia’s top life, accident and health insurance companies use FINEOS software, helping company executives make their decision.

“We thought, ‘we have a great team in Australia, maybe it’s not a bad idea that we investigate this’,” Mr Kelly said.

ASX Executive General Manager of Listings Max Cunningham said the fintech was an attractive global offering with a workforce across eight countries.

“FINEOS will make the largest ever foreign tech listing that we’ve received and compliment our technology sector,” he said.

Irish Consul General Owen Feeney, FINEOS chairperson Anne Driscoll, the ASX’s executive general manager of listings Max Cunningham, and CEO Michael Kelly celebrated the Irish company’s connection with Australia.

Irish Consul General Owen Feeney, FINEOS chairperson Anne Driscoll, the ASX’s executive general manager of listings Max Cunningham, and CEO Michael Kelly celebrated the Irish company’s connection with Australia.

FINEOS currently has a market capitalisation of over $500 million, 26 years after it was founded in 1993.

Sydney Irish Consul General Owen Feeney said Irish businesses were flourishing in Australia, and that he hoped Australian companies would follow suit in exploring Ireland for market opportunities and a ‘staging post’ into Europe.

“Irish companies…look abroad, it’s in their blood. There’s no better example than FINEOS.”

Famine monument remembrance event marks 20 years

The glass panels of Sydney’s Famine Memorial feature the names of Irish orphan women settled in Australia between 1848 and 1850.

The glass panels of Sydney’s Famine Memorial feature the names of Irish orphan women settled in Australia between 1848 and 1850.

The 20th annual commemoration at the Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine takes place later this month.

Due to a major refurbishment and upgrade of the exhibition spaces at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum and installation of a lift, the Museum is closed until late in 2019.

This means that the annual event will be different this year, starting with a symposium entitled Looking Forwards And Remembering commencing at 10am at the nearby Mint Building in Macquarie Street.

Afterwards, attendees will congregate in front of the Hyde Park Barracks’ Famine Memorial for the annual commemoration.

Historian and genealogist Dr Perry McIntyre said the Irish community were the driving force behind building the monument in 1995.

“It reminds them of their roots and historical connections to Ireland,” she said.

The monument is dedicated to over 4,000 Irish orphan girls and women who were resettled under a transportation plan during the Great Famine.

The National Monument to the Great Irish Famine was completed in 1995.

The National Monument to the Great Irish Famine was completed in 1995.

Unmarried women and girls, left alone and destitute by the catastrophe, arrived in Australia between 1848 to 1850 under former British Prime Minister Earl Grey’s Orphans scheme.

The girls and women came from all 32 counties to meet Australia’s need for both female labourers and mothers in the male-dominated colony.

Dr McIntrye said these women remained influential in the cultural heritage of the Australian community today.

“We are in contact with at least several thousand descendants and my estimation is that there would be at least 500,000 people descended from these 4,114 girls, even if they don't know about this aspect of their genealogy.”

The Annual Commemoration usually commences at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum on Macquarie Street, the site where orphans who were sent to Sydney were housed.

For this year’s Commemoration on August 25, descendants of the orphan immigrants are invited to wear a lapel label indicating their ancestor’s name, home county, and the ship they journeyed on.

Symposium attendees will hear from both the Vice Consul-General of Ireland Rory Conaty and Dr McIntyre, giving insight into how the story of the young women rescued from the Famine continues to influence Australia’s cultural landscape today.

Irish beauty blogger jets in for Bondi event

Irish beauty blogger Louise McDonnell.

Irish beauty blogger Louise McDonnell.

Top irish make-up artist and beauty blogger Louise McDonnell is on her way to Sydney for a one-off ‘masterclass’ event.

McDonnell, who runs LMD salon, is an established influencer in Ireland’s cosmetic industry with a robust social media following.

“I have been in Australia twice before and love the lifestyle there,” McDonnell told the Irish Echo from Ireland. “I have many friends who live there. With my large Australian following online, I decided it was time to bring one of my make-up masterclasses to Sydney.”

The masterclass event, to be held in Bondi Junction, will be unapologetically “girly”, she said.

“I love to create events which are a fun-filled girly days out. I provide lots of make-up expertise, tips and tricks along with a bit of craic. I cannot wait to come to Australia to sprinkle a bit of LMD magic on Sydney.”

McDonnell’s talents have attracted the attention of TV celebrities and she lists Katie Price, Chloe Ferry from Geordie Shore, Lauren Goodyear from The Only Way Is Essex and blogger Suzanne Jackson among her clients.

“I find celebrities very easy to work with, they are just normal people like me and you,” she said.

The masterclass event, which will be presented in association with the Irish-owned Headoffice hair salon, will take place at Easts Leagues Club on Friday, May 31 from 7pm. Tickets are $130. To book, click here.