The IAHC’s 2nd floor Library is the perfect place for the weekend’s books portion of iBAM 2023! Start with some literature, add in a little music, performance and history, sprinkle in some films, finish it off with a ghost or two, and you’ve got a full weekend of Irish culture and history, set against the hallowed backdrop of the IAHC’s most beautiful room. 


Don’t forget to bring your tote bag to fill it to the top with many tomes from the Library’s book sale where they practically give away books! Learn just how deep the roots in your family tree run with some on the spot genealogy sessions.


Saturday, November 18

12pm-1pm: Lecture, Ann McDonagh, On Irish History: Evolution and Endurance


Irish history is driven by wider European religious, imperial and cultural factors.  While Irish people remained traditional and agrarian Catholics, modern ideas from Switzerland, Rome, London and Germany upset Irish safety and independence.  Irish History is understandable if we know the big backstory: others were always looking to exploit its  geography as the “back door to London” and its invaluable farmland.  



1:15pm-2:15pm: Lecture, Pat Duffy, History of Teaching the Irish Language in Chicago


Irish-language enthusiast Pat Duffy has done extensive research into the teaching of Irish in Chicago. He found evidence that the first class was held 150 years ago on June 29, 1873. His talk is accompanied by a slideshow that highlights his noteworthy historical findings and ends with current opportunities to learn Irish in Chicago.



2:30pm-3:15pm-Lecture and performance:

Mary Harris Jones and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: Rebel Women of the Irish Diaspora

(L to R): Brigid Gerace and Rosemary Feurer



Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (1837–1930) and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890–1964) were rebel women of the Irish diaspora.
They sustained their radical voice despite political repression. Both women used their Irish identity to broaden the perspective of working-class movements in the United States.


Rosemary Feurer is history professor at Northern Illinois University and the director of the Mother Jones Chicago statue project. She is completing a book entitled The Mother Jones Field Guide to Illinois Labor History. She is joined by critically acclaimed actress Brigid Duffy Gerace for a fiery appearance as Mother Jones.


3:30pm-4:15pm-Film, The Brendan Voyage, hosted by Theresa Choske

Could an Irish monk in the sixth century really have sailed all the way across the Atlantic in a small open boat, beating Columbus to the New World by almost a thousand years? St. Brendan (c.484 - 577) became famed for his voyages, particularly a seven-year journey around 538, to the 'Land of Promise', which he described in his epic saga, "Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis'.  Award-winning adventure writer Tim Severin researched and built a boat identical to the leather curragh that carried Brendan on his epic voyage. The Brendan Voyage seamlessly blends high adventure and historical relevance. It has been translated into twenty-seven languages since its original publication in 1978.








4:30pm-5pm: Lecture, Amy Crider, Kells: A Novel of the Eighth Century 




Playwright and novelist Amy Crider reads from and discusses her book, the sweeping tale of a monk who longs to create the beautiful text that would become known as The Book of Kells, this book took years of research, including two trips to the remote island of Iona, and a medieval ink-making session with members of the Society for Creative Anachronisms.


Sunday, November 19


12pm-1pm-Film, Harry Clarke: Darkness in Light, hosted by Therese Choske


Filmmaker John J. Doherty trace
s the life and work of Irish artist, book illustrator and stained glass artist Harry Clarke with contributions from biographer Nicola Gordon Bowe and stained glass artists, poets and historians. The film takes the artist's work in stained glass; religious and ethereal, and in book illustration; mainly dark and fantastical, as the basis for its title, and tells a story of talent, struggle, success and censorship. The film was made in conjunction with the Irish Film Board and TG4.






1:15pm-2:15pm-Lecture, Ann McDonagh, The Orange vs. The Green: What’s the Difference? 

Learn why Ireland is the only European country still riven by theological changes from the 1600s.  Why do the Northern Ireland “Prods” vote and rule so differently than Dublin?  Is the “forgive and forget” approach the optimal way forward?

2:30pm-3:30pm-Lecture, Anthony Szabelski, Irish Ghosts and Folklore: From Banshees to Bootleggers, Bars and Booze



Chicago  has a rich Irish history and heritage which has spawned many ghostly  tales and legends. Anthony Szabelski will explore the characters  and places that gave rise to those true and maybe not so true tales.


3:45pm-4:45pm-Music, Tenor Mark Piekarz: Love’s Old Sweet Song



Just a Song at Twilight features music with Tenor Mark Piekarz on keyboard and vocals. He performs Irish tunes, folk songs and standards.

Piekarz is a classically trained tenor who has performed at the Steppenwolf Theatre, the Newberry Library, solo concerts in Polish at Prop Thtr,

the Chicago Public Library, on WTTW and NPR, and has performed with the CSO under the direction of Riccardo Muti.