Why Australia still dances to an Irish tune

What impact have successive waves of Irish immigration had on Australian art and culture?

Dead Centre’s Lippy at Abrons Arts Center with Irish Arts Center. Photo Credit: Jeremy Abrahams.​

The centenary of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising – the short-lived rebellion against British rule which ultimately led to the establishment of the Republic of Ireland – has been widely celebrated this year, including several Australian tours facilitated by the Embassy of Ireland. Such celebrations are more than appropriate given the strong historical connections between Ireland and Australia, which began with Irish-born convicts arriving on the First Fleet in New South Wales in 1788.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts