On Wednesday, December 8, GCN in partnership with EPIC Museum and Queer Culture Ireland will present ‘The Irish Names Project: The Story of Ireland’s AIDS Quilts’ as part of our In and Out programme. The evening will be hosted by co-founder of Queer Culture Ireland, Judith Finlay, and GCN’s own Editorial Assistant, Han Tiernan.
In recognition of the 40th anniversary since the first AIDS diagnosis and following on from Queer Culture Ireland’s exhibition, ‘The Quilt: Echoes and Memories’ which marked the 30th anniversary of the Irish Names Project, our hosts have been interviewing key figures involved in making the quilts, as well as people who have been seminal in HIV activism in Ireland. The broadcast will feature snippets of these interviews, with full-length versions being available to view separately afterwards.
The Irish Names Project was started in 1990 by Mary Shannon, following the death of her close friend Joe Carthy. Mary looked for a way to keep his memory alive, and after she came across AIDS quilts being made in the US, she decided to do the same in Ireland.
Mary sadly passed away in 2020, and is lovingly remembered by all who knew her, including her family, friends, and the LGBTQ+ community. She entrusted Judith as the next custodian of the quilts, and this episode of In and Out will feature an interview with her husband Christy, one of her sons Ryan, her sister Phil, and her close friend Trish.
On a cold November evening in 2018 I first met Mary Shannon, Custodian of the Irish Names Quilt who welcomed Peter, @brianteeling and I into her home to talk about and photograph the Quilts. What an honour and a privilege that evening was for us all. We left Mary’s house smitten pic.twitter.com/GwjXQpCRdc
— Lisa Connell (@Lisadonegal) July 19, 2020
Other interviewees include icons such as Karl Hayden, Cathal Kerrigan, Poz Vibe podcast’s Robbie and Veda, and more, as GCN aim to ensure the conversation surrounding HIV and AIDS in the country continues past December 1.
EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum played a huge part in creating this In and Out episode, and have also teamed up with GCN for ‘LIVING: a unique portrayal of people living with HIV in Ireland’. The exhibition launched on World AIDS Day 2021, and is available to view for free in CHQ Dublin until December 17.
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