The Irish have a long-term presence in Cuban history. We are undertaking two exceptional journeys to explore the Irish diaspora's legacy, along with deepening the links of Irish traditional music and dance with Cuban Celtic and Latin culture.
April 20-28, travel with world champion dancer and accomplished musician Niall O'Leary. Join CeltFest 5 with Irish musicians and Asturian and Galician bandas de gaitas. (information here) [date of departure advanced from original post, and return delayed]
November 15-23, travel with New York University professor, singer and producer Mick Moloney plus fiddler Athena Tergis, button accordionist Billy McComiskey and dancer Niall O'Leary. Engage with Cuban cultural counterparts. (information here)
O'Reilly Street in Old Havana
Named for General Alejandro O’Reilly, a native of County Meath and a foreign officer in the service of the Spanish crown. As second in command in Cuba he is remembered for having organised the military forces on the island after British withdrawal in 1763, particularly the Black and Mulatto Militias. www.irlandeses.org/0711fernandezmoya2.htm
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Irish and their descendants were part of the Spanish colonial venture in Cuba, as elsewhere in Latin America. Catholic nobility fled Ireland and settled in Spain, marrying with their peers, pursuing military and commercial careers abroad and developing large sugar holdings.
In the 19th century, Irish came to Cuba via the US. They built railroads, created schools and provided engineers for the sugar mills. Some became active in the struggle for independence and were imprisoned and executed by Spain.
The flow most notably reversed when Father Felix Varela fled a Spanish death sentence in the 1820s because of his advocacy for independence and the abolition of slavery. In New York he became a prominent friend of Irish famine immigrants. He learned the Irish language and in 1837 was named Vicar General of the Diocese of New York. (more here)
In the 1870s a Cuban sugar planter or trader sent his sculptor son Juan Vivion de Valera to New York to escape the Spanish draft. Vivion married Catherine Coll, an immigrant to Brooklyn from Bruree, County Limerick. After Vivion died, their two year old son Eamon de Valera, was sent to Ireland where he became a leader of the independence struggle and President. (more here)
For further information about the tours, contact John McAuliff at firstname.lastname@example.org.