Award-Winning Film Emerald City Debuts in the Borough at Queens College March 14; Chronicles Shift in Irish Immigration

— Emmy Award-Winning Reporter Mary Murphy to Speak; Evening to Feature Filmmaker Q&A, Traditional Irish Music and Dance in Fundraiser
for the College’s Irish Studies Program —

Queens, N.Y., March 2, 2018—The award-winning film Emerald City—said to mark “the end of an era in Irish American identity”—will make its borough debut at Queens College on Wednesday, March 14, in LeFrak Concert Hall. Mary Murphy, Emmy Award-winning WPIX reporter, Queens College graduate, and the daughter of Irish immigrants, will be the guest speaker for an evening that will feature a Q&A session with Emerald City filmmaker Colin Broderick and actors from the film, as well as traditional Irish music and dance performances to raise money for the college’s Irish Studies Program. The evening begins at 6 pm with a reception, performances and remarks; the film will be screened from 7:30 to 9 pm, immediately followed by the Q&A and a closing musical performance. Tickets are $20—$15 for students, veterans and seniors—and are available here.

“The scope of ethnicities represented in the New York City immigrant experience—and each group’s contributions—is unique and immeasurable. Our students are extraordinarily fortunate to be able to benefit from programs like Irish Studies where they can learn about the history and impact of one of the city’s earliest immigrant groups on our cultural and economic landscape,” said Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.

Loosely based on Broderick’s life, Emerald City was filmed entirely in New York and chronicles the lives of a crew of Irish construction workers as they witness a shift in traditional patterns of Irish immigration. An estimated 4.7 million Irish have settled in America since 1820, many arriving and working as skilled laborers. Today in Ireland, young adults are more likely to train for technology jobs, and immigrants from Portugal or Spain are often the skilled laborers performing carpentry or plumbing jobs. In the U.S., skilled Irish laborers, for the most part, are being replaced by a predominantly Central American workforce.

The characters in Emerald City struggle with alcohol and gambling addictions, loss, and the burden of upholding a fading legacy as the construction workers who “built New York City.” “The basic message of the movie is that it’s the end of the road for these guys,” says Broderick. “They are like the last of the Mohicans. The ‘Celtic Tiger’ and a new era of affluence in Ireland put an end to the age-old tradition of Ireland exporting skilled manual—specifically construction—labor.”

Emerald City, called “the most talked-about Irish film in decades,” was an Official Selection at the Irish, Manhattan, and Belfast Film Festivals, and received The Screen award at the inaugural IrishCentral Creativity & Arts Awards. View the trailer. The film is recommended for those aged 13 and older.

Performers for the March 14 fundraiser include Ireland native and recording artist Niamh O’Brien, traditional Irish harpist; champion Irish fiddler Jake James; Niall O’Leary, traditional musician, Irish dance performer, choreographer and master instructor; and students from the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance.

Author, playwright and screenwriter Colin Broderick was raised Irish Catholic in the heart of Northern Ireland during “The Troubles,” a decades-long period of sectarian violence that he describes as having influenced his body of work. He immigrated to the Bronx at age 20, where he worked as a carpenter while pursuing a literary career. His two-decades-long struggle with alcoholism is a factor in his plays, films, and books, which include Orangutan, That’s That: A Memoir, Father Who, Spudmunchers, Smile, and The Star Farm. Broderick’s work has also been published in the New York Times, Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, and Rattapalax.

Queens native Mary Murphy graduated magna cum laude from Queens College and began her broadcasting career through a college internship with WCBS-TV in the 1980s. A member of the PIX11 Investigates unit, she has been honored with 25 Emmy awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award for writing, and recognition from the Associated Press Broadcasters’ Association. Murphy won her most recent Emmy for a six-part series called “Heroin, A to Z.” She is the daughter of Irish immigrants; her mother, Mary, is from County Galway and her late father, James, hailed from County Mayo.

About the Queens College Irish Studies Program
The Queens College Irish Studies Program, established 45 years ago, is among the oldest such program in the nation. Students may take courses in Irish history, folklore, literature, and language. The related Queens Irish Oral History Project is an effort to record and
preserve the memories of Irish immigrants to the borough of Queens.

About Queens College
Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, Queens College helps its over 19,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, under the guidance of an accessible, award-winning faculty. The college was recently ranked tenth among U.S. public colleges by the Chronicle of Higher Education for upward social and economic mobility. The Center for World University Rankings placed Queens College in the top 3.5% of schools worldwide, based on the quality of its education and faculty, the number of its alumni who find employment, and other factors. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year by the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, and is routinely ranked a U.S. News & World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College, thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Visit our homepage to learn more.

A leader in preparing future educators, Queens College graduates the most teachers, counselors, and principals in the New York metropolitan area. It also contributes to New York City’s talent pool as a powerful economic engine and a leader in tech education, with more undergraduate computer science majors than any city college. Students from across the country and around the world come to Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music. Its renowned faculty and alumni include nationally recognized composers, conductors, and performers who have received over 40 Grammy Awards and nominations over the past 40 years.

For more about Queens college, visit

Maria Matteo
Office of Communications
Assistant Director, News Services