Art and Culture family history Music Palmers Green

Guest post: Palmers Green’s Cormac O’Duffy: the music of reconciliation

A memory of a talented Palmers Green family by journalist Frances Sealey.

Visiting Dresden in the last week was quite an emotional experience in several wayand not least that it reminded me of a remarkable family that lived in Palmers Green.

The O’Duffy family were a multi talented one. Michael the father was a very accomplished singer of Irish folk songs and he performed on several occasions for the Enfield Committee For Racial Harmony at some of our events including a huge event of over 300 people in the Edmonton Banqueting Hall with contributions from our ethnic communities that ended with a West Indian Steel Band.

His eldest son Paul was a talented music producer who I think worked with Paul McCartney.

But it was the youngest son Cormac who had the links with Dresden. Cormac was a music teacher and taught many young people including my daughter the piano. Cormac was passionate about bringing communities that had been in conflict together to heal and reconcile.

With him I once arranged a showing at his church of the banned BBC film “The War Game” that dramatized the effect of nuclear war on London – a film that impacted on all who saw it.

But Cormac also felt the tragedy that people went through in Dresden as a result of the mass bombings on that City during the War. Equally he was also concerned with what had happened in Coventry.

Dresden was bombed in February 1945 with 39,000 tons of high explosive killing around 25,000 people through both the blast and the following fire storm. The blitz on Coventry took place in 1940 with over 4,300 homes being destroyed as well as the Cathedral.

Cormac wanted to bring the communities of Coventry and Dresden together and composed a Requiem for that special occasion that was performed in front of an audience from both communities.

I felt the emotion of that whilst I stood in the square to listen to two young people singing opera to the audience gathering round in such beautiful tones that it made me think of Cormac and his deployment of music to express common humanity.

As the singers finished lightening lit up the sky and blasts of thunder could be heard across the city and again I thought of 1945 knowing that was the sound they heard then – only that time it brought not lightening but bombs and death.

Cormac O’Duffy from Palmers Green helped the world to move on from that dreadful time and through his Requiem find peace and reconciliation.

A Dresden Requiem – Cormac O’Duffy Music

— Read on

Community History Planning and open spaces Uncategorized

The path narrows

Work has begun on new housing to the rear of Green Lanes alongside the footpath which once ran across Clappers Green Farm. 

There has been a footpath extending west in this location for over 500 years – the Clappers Green footpath once extended as far as the entrance to The Mall.

A section of the footpath between Green Lanes and the railway line will be narrowed by 70 cm to make way for an access road to the new properties.


Looking west along the site of the access road to the new properties – the footpath is to the right of the picture.



Avoiding Olympic travel chaos

Wondering how to avoid Olympic travel chaos in the next few weeks? So are we all.

Whether you are heading into town or jumping into the car Get ahead for the olympics has day by day downloadable bulletins for the whole of the Olympic Games to help you plan ahead. Good luck out there.

Planning and open spaces

Village green preservation society

Haringey Council has received an application to register part of the Pinkham Way site (formerly Friern Barnet sewage works) as a town or village green in an attempt to halt proposals for a massive waste plant., according to Bowes and Bounds Green Connected.

Haringey wrote to local residents in a letter dated 29 May giving details and asking for responses by 20 July. The application is being made on the basis that the land has been used by a ‘significant number of local residents for a period exceeding 20 years prior to July 2010 as for lawful sports and pastimes as of right’.

If successful, registration of the land as a town or village green would protect the land, making it, amongst other things, a criminal offence to do anything that would stop use of the land for recreation and enjoyment. Which is about right isnt it?

Details can be viewed on the Haringey Council website  – presumably anyone may respond.  For more details of the campaign against the waste site, and likely impacts on all of us if it goes ahead, visit the Pinkham Way Alliance website.

Community Uncategorized


A windy Palmers Green was lit up on Saturday by the annual Palmers Green shopping Festival. Attractions included Punch and Judy, a steel band, turkish dancing, performances from local schools…and this

SOUP ukulele club at the festival

The SOUP ukulele club. Based at the Drill Hall Enfield, SOUP play everything from Gus Kahn to The Kinks, as a quick trawl on You Tube will attest.

Art and Culture Uncategorized

Poets read at the festival

Poetry in Palmers Green are hosting a special evening of poetry on 23 June as part of the N21  and Palmers Green Festival weekend. The evening will be introduced by Jayne Buckland, Enfield’s poetry loving former mayor, and compared by Joanna Cameron. Four poets are featured.

  • Kevin Crossley-Holland is a renowned poet and historical novelist for children who lives in Norfolk. His New and Selected Poems Mountains of Norfolk was published in 2011.
  • Penelope Shuttle lives in Cornwall. Sandgrain and Hourglass (Bloodaxe 2010), the most recent collection by this acclaimed poet, was a Poetry Book Society recommendation. Unsent: New and Selected Poems 1980-2012 is due this autumn. She is the widow of famous poet, Peter Redgrove.
  • Katherine Gallagher, born in Australia, has lived in North London since 1979. The fifth collection of this well known poet is Carnival Edge: New & Selected Poems (Arc 2010). She was co-organiser of the 2002 Palmers Green Stevie Smith Centenary Festival, and is running another event on Stevie Smith in Palmers Green on 30 June – see elsewhere on this site for details.
  • Myra Schneider lives in Arnos Grove. Her most recent full collection is Circling The Core (Enitharmon 2008). Second Light Publications has just brought out her pamphlet What Women Want. Other publications include books about personal writing.

The event is being held at St John’s Church Hall and starts at 7 for 7.30.Further info: Katherine Gallagher: 020-8881-1418  Myra Schneider: 020-8886-1329 For further news visit Poetry in Palmers Green’s Facebook page