N orth Belfast’s leading Irish summer school was launched to great fanfare this week at the city’s newewst arts venue. The McCracken Summer School, which takes place from July 23 to 27, is a coming together of people from many different backgrounds with the shared celebration of an appreciation of the Irish language.
The week long celebration of Irish culture will host a range of varying events such as Irish language courses for adults at St Malachy’s College on the Antrim Road and one for teenagers at St Patrick’s College.
Music also plays an integral role in the School. ‘Gaels at the Gaol’ on July 25 will see the legendary ‘’governor’ of Irish traditional music, Donal Lunny, give a performance at Crumlin Road Prison. He will be joined by award winning sean-nos singer Roisín Elsafty and Scottish Gaelic singing sensation Sineag MacIntyre.
Culture minister Carál Ní Chuilín who arrended the launch said: “I am very pleased the McCracken Summer School is gaining more support. Ray Giffen (development officer) has big plans for the school and I look forward to helping him realise these plans.”
Also in attendance was the former Lord Mayor, Niall Ó Donnghaile.
“I spoke at the launch last year and I am definitely looking to attend some of the events during the week of the summer school. I will hopefully be at the Gaels at the Gaol.”
Art Hughes, chair of the management committee of the school believes a multi-lingual city brings many benefits to a community.
“Multilingualism is an enrichment to a city. You can see it in the major cities like Paris and London, we want this in Belfast,” he said.
With just a few weeks left to the beginning of the summer school, Ray Giffen said of the launch. “It was great to see people from many different communities here and I would encourage people to attend the Irish language courses; we have already had over 200 applicants. It will be fantastic.”
For further information, a programme of events can be found on Ray Giffen’s Twitter page - @raygiffenccmr or a copy can be picked up at the MAC, which is in Saint Anne’s Square, St Anne’s Cathedral and beside the University of Ulster.