Legend has it that Saint Brendan left Ireland in the sixth century in aleather-covered boat in search of the ‘promised land’. His seven-year voyageeventually found him on the shores of North America. Christy Moore’s song,
St. Brendan’s Voyage
describes his eventual arrival:
When he grew short on candles He was forced to make a stop He tied up at Long Island, put America on the map
Since that initial voyage, the Irish have been leaving their native shore toseek the ‘enchanted land to the west’. The voyage to America was perhaps thelast great westward migration of the Celts. Like the many Irish who left theirnative shore, my family was no different. My father along with his two broth-ers left a small farm in Tipperary and arrived at Ellis Island in the 1920s, justin time for the Great Depression. Their stories, and the shared recollectionsof other members of the immigrant community, have always enchanted meand form some of my strongest childhood memories. Over the years, I havefound that the collectivememories of Irish-Americans form a common bond,alink that has drawn us together to share a story, a memory, and our senseof humour.
Wild Geese: The Irish in America
is an exhibition that celebrates the creativityof immigrant sons and daughters as well as those who have left their nativeshore in recent years. The exhibition looks at the contribution that the artistsare making in the contemporary craft world. Their artistry, innovation, andcraftsmanship are exceptional. Like their ancestors, they travelled far andhave been influenced by the world around them. Some can trace a definiteconnection totheir past while others celebrate the difference. The commonlink is their heritage, vision, and passion for their art. For many it is a home-coming. For me, it is an opportunity to share the past and look to the future. Welcome home!