Meet our Committee
Dia dhuit my name is Darren Pierce and I first joined NQIA in 2014 before becoming a committee member in 2016.
I was born and raised in Townsville but from an early age, I have always held a love to travel. I hold dual Australian and Irish citizenship so this has helped with my travels abroad.
My grandmother (on my mother’s side) Agnes Flanagan was born and raised in Maguire’s Bridge, County Fermanagh. Nanna immigrated with her family to Australia at the age of 12 in 1928. I spent a lot of time with my nanna growing up in Townsville and she introduced me to Irish culture, food and music. This is where my love of the Irish culture started and I love nothing better than a big fry up (nothing compares to Nanna’s though) followed by a few Guinness’s, Irish whiskeys and some trad tunes.
My great great grandaprents (on my father’s side) were Pierce’s, Brinn’s, Conelan’s, O’Briens (and Campell’s from Scotland) who were born and raised in Counties Clare, Limerick and Laois. The Pierce family Immigrated to Australia around 1856.
I lived and worked in Ireland in 2007 and 2008 settling in Galway City where I worked for Celtic Bookmakers (owned by Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein party) – fun and interesting times.
The NQIA have become such good friends and it is so great to connect with fantastic people who love the Irish culture and tradition. I would encourage anyone to come along to any of the events and join our NQIA Irish family.
Hi My name is Jason Kepper but thanks to the Irish connections on my mother’s side of the family she did grace me with the middle name Patrick. I put the “North Queensland” into the NQIA, with both sides of my family having history here for over 4 generations with a mix of Irish, Welsh, Scottish and German backgrounds. I have connections to the Crace, Bullock, Mulligan and Talbot familes.
My grandmother’s family were O’Toole’s and her family held onto many Irish traditions A roll call of my aunts and uncles names sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place in a Dublin school. Unlike their forebears, who can trace their heritage back to Tuathal Mac Augaire a former King of Lienster who died in 958 , my grandmother’s family were simple Irish migrants who settled in the hills behind Mackay at Eungella and later Finchatton in the late 1800’s. Her grandfather, James O’Toole was the first man to drive a bullock dray across the rough tracks into Eungella and he set up a small pub for the many miners looking to make their fortune and then spend it all on a dram in the evening. That may be where I get my fondness of hanging out in bars with a pint.
I became involved in the NQIA around 2002 after being introduced by friends and I have been involved with the committee over many of those years. I find it is a great way to socialise with likeminded individuals, learn more about Irish culture and generally share a bit of craic. The NQIA welcomes people from all backgrounds who are willing to share our common goal to have a good time in a friendly family atmosphere.
I love my Guinness cold, Jameson straight, ballads traditional and instrumentals fast and furious.
My Irish ancestry is on my Dad’s side. My grandmother’s parents were both born in Country Clare, and we’ve been told the secret on my grandfather’s side lies in Ireland. In trying to locate the proverbial pot of gold in terms of our beginnings my Dad (Owen) spent three months in Ennis, where he helped to transcribe the 19th century Birth & Marriage Parish Indexes for the Ennis Parish in between nightly sessions at Tom Steele’s Bar, where he broke the budget on more than one occasion and had to wash the dishes.
If you love music and similar minded people, the NQIA is for you.
Hi there, my name is Laura and this is my first year as a committee member! I joined NQIA last March, after meeting many of the lovely members during the St Paddy’s day celebrations at Molly’s. I am Irish born and bred, growing up in County Derry, and have been in Australia for 6 years now. I have worked and traveled in a few different areas of this huge and amazing country, but have been settled in Townsville for almost 2 years (and have survived the heat, so far!). I love having so many connections to Ireland through the people and the events of the NQIA, especially the trad session each month (although i may tear up a little each time they play “I wish I was back home in Derry”). I visit my family back home at least once per year (twice if i can swing it with time off work!), so I havnt quite lost the accent yet… I still get homesick (which often coincides with me baking some soda bread or potato bread!), but have been made to feel very welcome by the association, and I would encourage any Irish (or non-Irish!) people who are feeling a bit too far from home, to come to one of the events to see what we’re all about. The Guinness may not be just as good as in Ireland, but the craic will make up for it!!
Ties to Ireland: love of the music, culture and Guinness..Spent a brief time there as a
child..oh…I have an Irish great aunt, too…
Year of joining NQIA: 2014
Why I joined and love NQIA: I’ve had a long love affair with the Emerald Isle and everything
celtic (as an Irish work colleague commented – You’re probably the most celtic Asian person
on this side of the equator!; Ha!) The music is the best! I joined NQIA initially as a musical
outlet; but from there, I now have an amazing family of friends. I love meeting people new to
Townsville And showing them what a great community we have.. be them Irish, people with
Irish descent and people like me who simply love it! Sláinte!
Hi There, My name is Chris and I have been an NQIA member for a number of years and became a Committee member for the second time this year. I have always been a keen supporter of the association and regard them as my Family. Even though not blood related I have a circle of good friends who are lovers of music, friendship, laughter and we mustn’t forget Guinness!
Although not of Irish descent I am a Celt and a descendant of the Armstrong Clan, their motto is “ Invictus maneo” (I remain unvanquished). As the name suggests the Armstrong Clan are people renowned for their strength, traditionally armour bearers to the King of Scots, this serious post virtually meant the King’s life was in their hands. It was in the middle of a battle which had the Clan’s name confirmed when the King’s horse was killed and the King was trapped underneath the horse’s dead weight. The armour bearer lifted the horse to free his King and so saved his life.
A piece of trivia the Clan’s exploits were celebrated in stirring border ballads and one of their descendants was the first man on the moon, taking a piece of ancient Armstrong tartan with him. You don’t have to be Irish to be a member of the NQIA.