We no longer have Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly to sing, “Fine Girl You Are,” but thank the Lord we have Malachy McCourt to sing it for us. Another grand evening at the Salon, which features artists, playwrights, storytellers and writers performing both published works and works in progress. 

Kevin Holohan opened the evening with a reading from his recently published book “The Brothers Lot.” Kevin’s book, which is both provocative and humorous, takes aim at the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and the repressive nature of  Catholic schools in post WWII Dublin.

Contemporary Irish artist Roisin Fitzpatrick showed a work from her Artist of the Light collection, which is currently appearing through November 30 at the Irish Consulate on Park Avenue and 51st Street. Roisin’s art has been critically acclaimed by Forbes, Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and has been called inspiring by Deepak Chopra.

There were three playwrights present: Sheila Walsh, with the assistance of Honor Molloy and Sarah Fearon, performed a scene from a play in progress, “Mister Tweety’s Neighbors”; Bill Cunningham read from his work in progress, a one man play about the life and times of Senator Pat Moynihan, and Salon newcomer, Brendan Conellan, who has written and performed in a number of one act plays at the Manhattan Theatre, read from his novel in progress.

Good news was announced. We learned that Salon regular Honor Molloy has inked a deal with Simon and Shuster. Her book “Smarty Pants” will be published in March 2012. Honor read a section from “Smarty Girl” called Outta Goosetown, which served as an introduction to the next reader, Kate Kerrigan. Kate, a resident of County Mayo in the west of Ireland, read a passage from herwonderful novel, “Ellis Island.”  Kate joined us in the midst of a country wide tour, during which she is promoting her book.  You can catch her tonight at Paddy Reillys, on Second Avenue and 29th St. It’s an evening that is sure to be filled with story, song and music.  I’ll be there with my son, Chris, a big fan of Irish music. 

Maura Mulligan gave a spirited and humorous reading of her soon to be published memoir, “The Flight of the Lark,” and Mary Pat Kelly, whose smash success, “Galway Bay” will soon be appearing as a television miniseries, read from “Kelly Green,” a work in progress and a sequel to “Galway Bay.”

Novels in progress were a main theme of the evening: Kathleen Frazier read from her work in progress, “Silky Girl,”the first in a trilogy of historical novels. Kathleen showed off her acting skills during her reading, bringing each character vividly to life.  John Kearns read from his novel in progress, “Worlds,” adding a nice dose of humor to the proceedings, and Kathleen Donohoe read from her novel in progress, “You Were Forever.” Kathleen’s novel concerns women and their relationship with the New York Fire Department, a topic very close to my heart. My grandfather was a New York City firefighter who died in the line of the duty.

And, as always, the evening was beautifully closed by Malachy McCourt, whose ideas were the inspiration for the Salon, a place where artists can share their works in the company of like-minded and supportive folks.  Malachy’s wonderful rendition of “Fine Girl You Are” sent the spirited crowd off into the night. 

Malachy will have the emcee role for the Oct. 17 Eugene O’Neill Award Celebration, the signature event of the IAW&A.   This year the honorees are Irish Repertory Theatre founders Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly.  Among the highlights of the festive evening of “literary libation” will be the Award presentation by actor and Irish Cultural ambassador Gabriel Byrne.   Tickets are available now at http://www.i-am-wa.org/.

The IRISH AMERICAN WRITERS AND ARTISTS’ salons are held on the first Tuesday of each month at The Thalia Café, located in Symphony Space on Broadway at 95th Street in Manhattan. For more information on joining the IAW&A or attending the Salons you can contact Charles Hale at chashale1@yahoo.com. The next Salon will be held November 1st.