April 26, 2023

S3E8: Denis Maguire, Life on the Peninsula

S3E8: Denis Maguire, Life on the Peninsula
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When it comes to experiences, life is an embarrassment of riches.  Even more so, if you're an adventurous, wandering type, which might be another way of saying 'if you're Irish'.

Certainly Denis Maguire is, although he has gone about it in his own quiet way.   As a thoughtful playwright, flimmaker and artist, boisterousness is not for him.  Raised in Galway City in Ireland, of rebel lineage, and later a college student in Dublin, he left his native Ireland and headed off to study in Moscow in his late teens.  This was right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the citizens of the Eastern Bloc were still feeling the fallout from a communist utopia. Only the most pioneering of souls would have made that journey in those days.  Oh, and he didn't speak a word of Russian.  Not then. But he does now.

By the time he returned to Ireland, almost six years later, he'd spent some very formative years in an entirely different culture to the one of his childhood.  It had shaped him, instilling in him a level of russification that took him some time to realize and acknowledge.   You can take the lad out of Russia, but you can't...

Ironically, and literally by chance, New York later became his home, the polar opposite of the Moscow of his day.  So it is not surprising that he now lives in the world famous Coney Island, Brooklyn, which is no longer an island as it was when it was named, but a peninsula, a place geographically neither disconnected nor fully connected to the American  bedrock.  Which could be the metaphor for Denis's inner muse.

One further irony: Denis and  Paul Finnegan, CenterPieceNY's host, lived only a couple of short streets apart in Galway City for several years in the 1970s.  An age gap meant they did not know each other, though they both knew many of the same people, and shared many similar experiences.  It was documentarian Heather Quinlan, a collaborator with Paul on another project, who brought Denis and Paul together for this interview. 

Fair play to you, Heather!

Further info:

Denis on Instagram: @deniscmaguire and @deniscmaguireart

Thanks to Purple-Planet  for  Intro/Outro music, and to FreeSound for the sound FX, and some music too!

For tech reasons we weren't able this month to mention the Celtic Irish American Academy,but we'll be sure to do so next month.  Support its work by donating (in USD $, with tax exemption benefits) here: CIAA Scholastic.

Our sponsor is the Fox Lifestyle Hospitality Group. Pay a visit to one of their great restaurants.

A special shout out to Lochlainn Harte, Imaging Manager at Newstalk Radio, for extra, top class, audio mixing.