From Emer O’Hagan:

The Séamus O’Neill Summer School promises something for everyone this weekend in Castlewellan. It will be launched at 2.30pm tomorrow (8 June, 2012) in The Lodge by Louise McCreesh, presenter for BBC Radio Ulster’s Blas programme.

A family orientated line-up will follow as the Armagh Rhymers, one of Northern Ireland’s most celebrated folk theatre ensembles, will take to the stage with their unique interactive blend of music, drama, song and dance.

Children from Bunscoil Bheanna Boirce and St Mary’s Primary School, Glasdrumman will then present a selection of poems which Séamus O’Neill wrote children in 1949.

The Summer School will include a number of interesting talks that have a great relevance to our locality; Dr Nicholas Mac Cathmhaoil will discuss hand written manuscripts produced locally in his talk, ‘The Literary Heritage of Co Down up to the 1800s’.

Dr Des McCabe will introduce the life and works of Séamus O’Neill and he will highlight how south Down impacted on his creativity. An exhibition in Castlewellan Library will also present O’Neill’s connections to this area and his works.

For those with a specific interest in Irish literature; Aodán Mac Poilín, Director of The Ultach Trust, will describe the environment of west Belfast in the early 20th century which nurtured O’Neill’s interest in the Irish language when his family moved there from Castlewellan in 1917. The pioneering and acclaimed writer, Séamus Mac Annaidh, will discuss his own literary works on Saturday morning.

A selection of panels and workshops will support those interested in Irish language writing as either a career or simply a past-time. The panels include experts in each of the following areas;

Writing for journalism: Robert McMillen (Irish News) and Eoghan Ó Néill (Nuacht 24 and Gaelscéal);

Writing for TV and sreenplays: Antaine Ó Donnaile (BBC) and Damian Mc Cann (Tobar Productions); and

Creative writing: Ray Mac Manais (author).

If you are simply looking for a good night out the Summer School concert on Friday night is for you;

Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde

commencing with a wine reception, our local Irish language Choir (Cór Uachtar Tíre) will join with the Belfast Choir (Cór Loch Lao) and the Gweedore Choir (Cór Thaobh a’ Leithid) to perform with Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde, the award winning singer from the Donegal Gealtacht. Doiminc will also perform from his recent eclectic album, ‘Smúidghleach’ which combines traditional Irish songs with a classic twist as he sings with a string quartet and a clarinet.

The whole Summer School will conclude with a delicious 3-course meal in Hillyard House commencing at 7.30pm on Saturday night. In addition, Hillyard House are offering a Summer School Special for people staying on Saturday 9th attending the events.

Please note that the Summer School will be run through Irish but simultaneous translation will be provided for all the lectures, ensuring that it will be a thoroughly accessible event for all.


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