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Antrim and Newtownabbey aim to revive forgotten author

16 February 2017

Antrim Live, a cultural extravaganza of arts and entertainment is coming to Antrim Town this February and there are lots of fantastic, festival fun in store for all!

Have you ever heard of Alexander Irvine? Perhaps not, but at one time Irvine was one of Northern Ireland’s most famous writers. The Antrim man first came to prominence in the early 1900’s with the publication of his first novel, My Lady of the Chimney Corner, a book about his early life in Antrim town and his mother – the eponymous lady of the chimney corner who was a major influence on his life and work.

Irvine came from humble beginnings, the son of a shoe mender but he went on to achieve great success as both an author and a speaker. In 1888 he left his native Antrim and emigrated to the United States, where he arrived with only one dollar in his pocket. He worked as a missionary amongst those living in need and deprivation on the streets of New York.  In 1903 he graduated in theology from Yale University. His compelling life story is recorded in several of his books including From the Bottom Up and A Fighting Parson.

Despite being a well-known figure throughout the 20th century, Irvine has fallen from fame in recent years. A new initiative from Antrim and Newtownabbey Council aims to restore Irvine to his rightful place. The Council, in partnership with the Ulster Scots Agency, have commissioned award winning theatre company Kabosh to produce a new living history experience based upon Irvine’s life. The short play which will feature characters from Irvine’s life and the man himself, will be performed in the historic surroundings of Pogues Entry, Irvine’s birth place in Antrim Town.

The event will open to the public on Saturday 25 February.

To book or for more information visit www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/antrimlive