During the last week of August, I will be taking part in a new festival in my very own West Belfast in Cultúrlann MacAdam Ó Fiach. A cultural center in the heart of Belfast, that has steadily announced itself on the scene of must-visit attractions in Belfast since its inception in the early 90’s. It is at the epicenter of the Belfast Gaeltacht Quarter, and home to a theater, gallery, restaurant/ café, bookshop, gift shop, tourist office, and quite a few businesses that run their day to day operations as Gaeilge.
The festival, Liú Lúnasa, is a new idea to bring those with an interest in promoting and using the Irish language as a day to day, socially functioning language together for a weekend of varied activity, music, art, movement, and fun. A festival that will be totally crow-funded, and run on the basis of making the Irish language accessible to all, and especially, to develop its use outside of the world of academia, activism, and school. The concept of crowd-funding epitomizes the independence of Liú Lúnasa, and the voluntary participation of all contributors really highlights that this festival is an important step forward for the Irish speaking community, especially in Belfast, but also all over Ireland, where hopefully others will follow suit in organizing their own independent festivals.
I will be running a movement workshop on Sunday morning (30th of August 11am) in the Cultúrlann called ‘Ag Gluaiseacht le Chéile’ (moving together), everyone from the early learner to the most fluent Gaeilgeoir is welcome. Bringing ‘movement’ home to Belfast for me is an exciting prospect, and this will be the first time I get to run a workshop in my native Belfast.