On Brigid’s Bank Holiday, February 6th, Respond’s Refugee Resettlement programme in County Clare came together with other local Clare organisations to organise an intercultural event. The event brought together communities from across the county to share cultural performances, dance, music and storytelling. The event was held on St. Brigid’s bank holiday because of what the day represents. The day has its origins in the Celtic festival of Imbolc, it was the festival of fertility and marked the beginning of spring in Ireland. The celebration represented light, new beginnings and prosperity for the year ahead.
There were excellent performances by musicians from Nepal, South African, members of the Travelling Community, the Ukrainian community and many other local artists. A selection of homemade cakes from Syrian, Afghanistan and Ukraine were available to sample in the foyer. These were all made by the families on the programme and by some of the Ukrainian community in Clare. The cakes were enjoyed with some lovely Syrian and Afghan tea. The cake stall was such a success that some families are looking into joining the local market to set up their own stalls.
Local artist Aine O’Brein created a giant nest which could be found in the foyer of the venue. The nest represented hope, safety and home. Aine chose to make a nest for us all to collectively welcome new people into our community and invite them to build a home here. Everyone was invited to write a wish for their future on a ribbon and tie it to the nest. There were also local trad musicians playing in the foyer and a constant queue of children waiting to get their faces painted. There was a lively and excited atmosphere throughout the day.
The event sold out with over 500 people in attendance. It really highlighted the vibrant and diverse culture we have in County Clare and Respond were delighted to be part of it. It also gave the families on the resettlement programme an opportunity to enjoy Irish music and culture, and meet new people in the community.