January 13, 2017

Last Friday, to kick off the new year, N4 hosted a celebration at 58 O’Connell of James Joyce’s “The Dead” with readings by six N4 Ireland student ambassadors and co-founder Colum McCann to a full house of seventy audience members. The student readers included Gustaw Marciszewski, Amee O’Connor Berkeley, John Begley, Anna O’Reagan, Naima Gabyow, and Emily Duffy.

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Before the event, Colum held a master workshop for the students on Joyce’s “The Dead.” The concluding short story in Joyce’s 1914 short story collection The Dubliners, “The Dead” is lauded as one of the most well-written English language short stories of the twentieth century and features many characters alluded to in Ulysses. The reading featured excerpts of the novella-length story and was streamed live via Facebook Live.

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Student participant Amee O’Conner Berkery said, “To take part in a performance of such an iconic and arguably legendary piece of literature was a true honor and an amazing experience. Joyce has been a favorite of mine for a long time and “The Dead” is a story that for many reasons, I find to be emotionally powerful and truly entrancing. It was a unique and heart-warming experience that really made the true message of Narrative 4 hit home with me once again—stories are the most powerful things on earth.”

N4 Ireland Regional Director James Lawlor added, “We started to run programming in October and we’ve been warmly welcomed by Limerick students, teachers, and the entire community. It was wonderful to start the new year off by bringing everyone together and we are thrilled by the turnout.” Both new and familiar faces were in attendance—community members new to N4 mingled with N4 board members, supporters, instructors, and students.

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Music also accompanied the reading. Nigel Dugdale of the Limerick Leader sang “The Lass of Aughrim.” He also talked to Colum about N4’s history and future. Colum spoke of the organization’s international work in Mexico, Israel, and South Africa and how N4 fits within Limerick’s exciting transformation: “It feels like the time has come for Limerick. It’s vibrant and edgy and new, and I feel aligned with the city. The city has a story to tell the world.”

James agreed, “Here at 58 O’Connell, we want to establish N4 as a community and cultural center that youth across Ireland can really embrace and make their own. A love of storytelling, literature, and the arts can transform and empower youth to make positive social change.”

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Students, too, show an enthusiasm for the opportunity to build their own space. Amee, who attended last year’s global summit, told us that “Narrative 4 has helped me in so many ways and being an ambassador and having the opportunity to take part in events like these are some of the most wonderful occasions I have experienced and something I view as a way to repay my Narrative 4 family for all they have done for me!”

For last week’s One Minute Weekly, click here.