Monday, 21 December 2015

Leo: A Ghost Story




Leo: A Ghost Story 


Latest review for Inis Magazine/Website

Author: 

Illustrator: 



Chronicle Kids 2015 (HBK) 52pp,
$16.99 US/10.99 
ISBN 9781452131566.   
 
The book begins with a question posed on the inside flap of the front cover. Most people cannot see ghosts. Can you? A challenging opening statement which should certainly provoke discussion before ever reading the story. Indeed, whoever picks this book should have a good indication of the contents from the title. Leo a ghost story, is no ordinary tale for small children. Firstly, it is longer than the average picture book; fifty two pages rather than the usual thirty two. This, however, is the perfect length as tailoring it would have diminished the overall product. Certain topics, such as:  paranormal activity, imaginary friends and unwanted nocturnal visitors are all investigated effortlessly and we have immediate empathy with Leo (the protagonist and ghost) who's really only trying to be helpful and friendly to the people who can't see him. Luckily he meets Jane (someone who can see him) and a friendship blossoms. Jane readily accepts her new friend as he is, in his spirit form but her mother labels Leo as an 'imaginary friend' because she can't see him. Many adults do the very same thing but here we are cleverly presented with the possibility of a real and not imagined unseen world, something which might come as a relief to children who are genuinely having this kind of experience. Overall the narrative is about 'powering' children up, we see the children facing challenges head on and when an intruder breaks in towards the end, we see Leo taking charge of the situation. Something which children reading or hearing the story could emulate.  Barnett knows how to spin a good yarn (Extra yarn, a previous book of his) he writes with clarity and precision.

Robinson's illustrations perfectly match the text. Hand executed in hues of blue paint and charcoal pencil, we instantly access a supernatural world which is endearing and familiar. Vintage references in the style of drawing as well as in some of the furniture also give it a quality of yesteryear which is appropriate to the storyline. Together Barnett and Robinson have a created a wonderful book, rich in storytelling and considerate of the intelligence of a small child's wonderings. (0-4, 5-7) Sadie Cramer


 





16 Dec 2015See more at

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Xmas card

Here's a gorgeous little design by our 15 year old daughter. Isn't it just sooooo cute? Might you be the lucky one and receive the actual card? There's an e version too which will be almost as nice. Happy Christmas Xx

                                           

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Website down - Apologies

My website has been down since the weekend :-( all I can do is apologise and hope it resumes soon.

Here's what my provider said:

We are getting close to resuming service and wanted to share our perspective on today’s events.

What happened?

DDoS (distributed denial of service) is a malicious internet attack designed to overload a website with manufactured traffic. It’s illegal, disruptive, and, unfortunately, a reality of the industry in which we operate.

We routinely rebuff DDoS attacks, most of which are invisible to you and do not impact your service. We study each and regularly upgrade our defences. We were attacked on Thursday of last week by a sophisticated and well-known group who promised, and delivered, a further attack today. This group has a history of successfully disrupting other well-known online businesses which often results in several days of downtime. These attacks required us to make major changes and quickly. The best way for us to achieve this was to bring our servers down to implement improvements, a decision we did not take lightly.

We know how painful this has been for you and your business. We have used the time well and our defenses have improved substantially. Thank you for your patience and support throughout this crisis. We are nearly there and hope to fully restore service by early evening.

As always, we care about the Moonfruit Community and will keep you informed. You have no idea how much the messages of support have meant as we’ve burned the midnight oil over the weekend to put things right, and to better position you for the future.

Once again, thank you for your patience and apologies for the inconvenience caused.

The Moonfruit Team

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Once upon a Place visits the Burren



Here's a little of what we all get up to when we visit school groups all over the country (the sanitised version anyway.) Nice job Peter Salisbury

Sessions at Inner Beauty Holistic Centre

We had a really wonderful and investigative day at the Goddess workshop on Saturday November 28th.


Making giant love hearts with the fab ladies at the Goddess workshop


Here's a few upcoming dates for your diary.



December 12th 2-4pm an ART workshop for children aged 8-12 yrs. €15.00





Monthly support group for women who have lost a baby at whatever stage of their pregnancy and for whatever reason. Thursday December 10th - 7.30-9pm


INTO THE WILD WOOD

Time to do your roots?

A day long workshop to investigate, meditate and create. 

Enticing and beguiling - Into the wild wood is a journey back to your primal being.
Reawakening your more playful side through your connection with nature.

Please phone Sadie Cramer to book a place.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Galway 2020 - To Hell or to Connacht - Latest illustration


Here's my contribution
Sadie Cramer - To hell or to Connacht

                                                                                                                                                                                            

Huge congrats to the Galway 2020 team on making the shortlist to become European Capital of Culture
‪#‎galway2020‬ 

‪#‎IBackGalway‬
http://connachttribune.ie/galways-2020-bid-gets-through-to…/

Igniting Creativity - NUIG

Really enjoyed meeting the first year students on the child studies course at NUIG yesterday. 
How do we use our creativity? 
What do we create? 
Also discovering what our own creativity actually is, then looking at ways to extend this to other people. This was an important starting point for most people who hadn't considered these questions before.

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is take time out to 
!!! PLAY !!! - 
just like children (they're our best teachers) when we are relaxed and enjoying ourselves, it creates space for us to receive new ideas - a good starting point for most creation.




Monday, 16 November 2015

Goddess workshop


Do you need to move into your power centre? Would you like to learn more about your own Goddess qualities? Do you need to devote a day to discovering your innate gifts and abilities? Then this workshop is for you. An immersive day to meditate and create, we'll be connecting to the divine feminine energies. Open to both men and women. €50.00 Please contact Sadie Cramer 087 2940458 to book a place. #innerbeautyholisticcentre

Friday, 13 November 2015

Inner Beauty Holistic Centre open day

Wendy Van Den Hopf cleverly chose 11.11.15 at 11' 0 clock (her birthday) and a new moon to open her new premises to the public and what an amazing day it was. How fantastic to meet so many therapists offering so many different and such wonderful treatments. I've been extremely lucky to benefit from the healing treatments of Wendy herself, Sharon Fitzmaurice, Janine Schuller and Trish Sheehan all whom I highly recommend. I'm also looking forward to sampling more of what's on offer over the coming weeks. 

What really struck me about the day was how lovely and gentle the energy flowing around the room was; no clashing egos, no big dominant personalities just a loving and harmonious atmosphere. 

Congratulations to Wendy on bringing her dream to fruition but also for creating such a warm and inviting centre that we can all benefit from.

                                       

Some of the team of fantastic therapists operating from  ‪#‎innerbeautyholisticcentre‬ from left to right Janine Schuller, Mary Welby, Norah Coyne, Wendy Van Den Hopf, Andrew Marmion, Karina Caroll, Sadie Cramer, Dolores Andrew Gavin, Sharon Fitzmaurice, Monica, Cathleen Fahy, Trish Sheehan and Fiona.

Wendy Van Den Hopf who offers a plethora of fantastic treatments herself including beauty and holistic
(highly recommended) 

Norah Coyne - Fantastic sound treatments and readings

The wonderful Sharon Fitzmaurice who does a monthly healing circle and reiki treatments at the centre (highly recommended)

Janine Schuller (Gentle warrior) who offers womb blessings and ceremonies (highly recommended)

Dolores Andrew Gavin - inspiring lady themythicfairy.com  who empowers children through story and emotional awareness.

Fiona - nutritionist
Andrew Marmion - angel card readings 
‪#‎irishhealthhour‬ ‪#‎innerbeautyholisticcentre‬

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The magic of night time in County Clare libraries



Continuing the theme of magic and the dark, we shared stories, made art and had a ball in Kildysart and Kilmihil libraries in County Clare yesterday.



Kildysart
Here's what they said at Kilmihil 

They thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, plenty of stories and drawings with a Halloween theme.
I had met Sadie in Kilrush before, she is a very nice lady and great with the children. 
“Excellent workshop, highly participative and entertaining.” - Thanks a million Frances Xx

Monday, 19 October 2015

Spirit Babies - Mizuko Kuyo

by Katherine Brind'Amour, Benjamin Garcia 
Mizuko Kuyo is a Japanese Buddhist ceremony that focuses on a deceased fetus or stillborn child. This ceremony was originally developed to honor Jizo, a god believed to be responsible for transporting dead fetuses or children to the other world. The practice has become more popular in the last half century due to the growing number of abortions taking place and the particular views that Japanese Buddhists have about fetuses and abortion. Japanese Buddhists believe that honoring Jizo will ensure that their aborted fetus successfully makes it to the other world, where it can be reborn in the future. In a religious context, Mizuko Kuyo provides an example of one of the many ways that fetuses are viewed and treated both in natural death and in abortion.
Literally, Mizuko Kuyo is the “water child memorial service” and the ceremony is deeply meaningful for those who practice it. Traditionally, the mizuko were buried underneath the parents’ house since it was believed that the natural water would wash the mizuko to the natural springs under the earth’s surface. It was believed that these springs were part of the beginning of life. The mizuko, or water child, is said to go from the water of the womb to its original liquid state upon its death. Water is important in Japanese Buddhism, as it represents both death and a faithful acknowledgment that the child will be reborn. Mizuko Kuyo is traditionally practiced on three main holidays. These are the spring equinox, the summer solstice, and a day referred to as “bon,” which is a summer day typically used to honor ancestors.
The mizuko are also celebrated at the Buddhist temples. At the temple the parents may buy a stone tomb and place a statue of Jizo on top of it. This statue usually has a red bib and Jizo is holding a stick with bells on top of it to help the mizuko walk. The stone also has the word “kaimyo” written on it, a traditional name given to someone after they pass away. Jizo statues may be placed in a park outside the temple. These parks are designed specifically for the mizuko and often contain swings, slides, and other playground equipment that children usually play on.
Although these tombs and playgrounds may seem like places to grieve, it is often exactly the opposite. In fact, they are quite happy places. Families of the aborted fetuses or deceased children come to these playgrounds to clean their statues and observe a moment of silence for their mizuko. They put seasonal clothing on Jizo and even set up umbrellas to cover them from the rain. While their other children play, the mothers, and sometimes the fathers, take a bow to honor their mizuko. They also bring toys and flowers and light candles to honor them.
Japanese Buddhism does not regard abortion as harshly as many religions and societies do. Abortion is becoming a common practice in Japan due to its cultural acceptance as a social necessity to protect family values. Mizuko Kuyo is practiced in order to prevent people from feeling that abortion is becoming trivialized and to provide the parents with a therapy for understanding their emotions and dealing with their loss.
by Katherine Brind'Amour, Benjamin Garcia 







Saturday, 17 October 2015

Lovely Leitrim Library visits

Had such a wonderful day at Drumshanbo and Carrick-on-Shannnon libraries. Thanks you for inviting me back! Really enjoyed exploring the magic of night-time with 66 children (who always astound me with their knowledge.) Visited Knocknashee (hill of the fairies) and caught up with Ruth Le Gear (who is doing incredible work in this part of the country) so all in all, a day brimming with magic and sparkle. Really love you Leitrim Xx








Upcoming events at Inner, Beauty Holistic Centre, Terryland, Galway




Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Spirit Babies Support Group


There was such an amazing response to Saturday's workshop both by those who attended and by the many who couldn't. It was a beautiful day and what became apparent, even before we commenced, was the need for continued support for those who have suffered the loss of a baby at whatever stage. So in response, I am setting up a 'Spirit Babies Support Group' which will meet on the first Monday of every  month at the  ‪#‎Innerbeautyholisticcentre‬, Terryland, Galway.
Our first date will be on Thursday 12th November@ 7.30pm followed by Thursday December 10th. Anyone who has had a loss; be it in pregnancy or post pregnancy, whether it be recently or in the distant past, is welcome and as this seems to be a theme that resonates with all women regardless of their experience, I open the invitation to all. 

Given the response locally I've been invited to travel elsewhere with this workshop. If you'd like to propose a venue, please contact me. Sadie Cramer 087 2940458

Here's a response from a lady about my last post and why we need to meet agin and again Xx 


Beautiful read Sadie, best of luck with the day, it sounds so healing and wonderful. I spent 6 months in home for unmarried mothers 34 years ago and had my baby taken from me at six days old... Thankfully I was one of the lucky ones and got her back for good when she was a month old. My profile pic is me, my daughther and now my gorgeous grand daughter. I only took the time in recent years to allow myself the compassion for the trauma of it all heart emoticon xxx Love to you and & your six children xxx


Angel wings made by the ladies at the Spirit Babies workshop

Friday, 2 October 2015

Spirit Babies





Several years ago I had a miscarriage which was horrendously painful and distressing (a bit like a mini labour.) I was 15 weeks pregnant and somehow managed to catch the embryonic sac mid flow. I was astounded to see this seemingly perfect life form lying in the palm of my hand; it even had little fingers and toes. Very quickly (like so many other women) I was wrenched from this beautiful spiritual moment and thrust into the harsh reality of the hospital, where I was pushed and prodded and told that it was normal (which it is) and that I’d get over it (which I have) but it took revisiting that time in my life, honoring it and consciously asking for healing around it.  

That incident and another miscarriage a year later have had a huge impact on me. I deliberately took the time to face my grief head on by working though it in artistically (I have a collection of paintings and sketch books from that time) and it really did help. Luckily I have been blessed with a beautiful family (two boys and two girls) but I also allow myself to think of who the other two could have been.
 Since the first miscarriage I have met so many women who’ve had similar or worse experiences and it is evident and palpable how so many of them still carry the pain of their particular incident years later. I have met elderly women who still well up about the still birth they had in their twenties or the shame and guilt they carry over adoption or abortion. The discoveries around the mother and baby homes really struck a chord with the nation and the need to acknowledge this common experience is enormous.

  #‎Innerbeautyholisticcentre‬ ‪#‎Galway‬ 

All these experiences draw on our shared humanity, we feel each others pain or at least have empathy for the loss or mistreatment of another. In order to acknowledge our individual or collective loss I am leading a daylong workshop which is simply called Spirit Babies. It will be a day of meditation, healing and sharing.


Saturday October 10th at the Inner Beauty Holistic Centre, Terryland, Galway.  10.30-4pm. All welcome. €50.00
Please contact: Sadie Cramer – 087 2940458  to book a place

Thursday, 1 October 2015

What's on in Clare County Libraries this month

Thank you to Clare libraries for the lovely endorsement. Really delighted to go return to beautiful County Clare Xx




Read Everywhere
Read Everywhere

Níl Turas Níos Fearr Ná Turas le Leabhar!
READ EVERYWHERE IN 2015!
Clare County Library celebrates Children’s Book Festival 

This year, wherever you are in Ireland, events and activities will be taking place to encourage children to enjoy the experience and the magic of reading! With stories that can be read everywhere, October is a jam-packed month of fun-filled opportunities featuring authors and illustrators, and catering for the reading preferences of everyone from toddlers to teens and beyond. 

Activities will be running in libraries throughout Ireland in October. This will include everything from readings by popular authors to writing and illustration workshops, plus storytelling, competitions and much, much more! With so many opportunities for fun there’s no doubt bookworms everywhere will be satisfied. The festival is the biggest celebration of books and reading in Clare County Library’s events calendar for children and this year’s programme features some of the best authors and entertainers for young people that Ireland has to offer.
The festival’s main event takes place in Glór on October 20th. Shane Hegarty will meet with over 500 children from schools in the county to bring them the background to, and stories from Darkmouth, his sensational series that has secured him record-breaking publishing deals in the UK, US, Germany, Brazil and further afield. Movie rights to this first book in the series have already been sold for a six-figure sum with a strong possibility the film will be produced next year. 

Other authors and illustrators touring library branches this October include Alan Nolan who is famous for his Big Break Detectives Casebook and the Murder Can Be Fatal Mysteries series of graphic novels. His humorous hurling novel Fintan's Fifteen, “hooked” young readers from the first page with its variety of narrative techniques including traditional story text, comic strips and Alan’s trademark graphics. His latest children's illustrated novel, Conor's Caveman, about a boy and girl who find a caveman frozen in a glacier in the Wicklow mountains, is available now!

Ré Ó Laighléis is a writer of novels, short stories, plays and screenplays and picture books in both English and Irish. He writes for child, teenage and adult readerships and many of his award-winning works have been translated into various languages. Novels and collections of his have been required reading on curricula both here and abroad. Currently, his novel Gafa is on the Leaving Certificate Irish curriculum. Ré is a regular participant in the library’s programmes for teenagers.

Le linn a sheisiúin, léifidh Ré as saothair éagsúla agus tabharfaidh sé indearcadh ar a mbunúis agus a ndéanamh. Labhróidh sé ar an draíocht a bhaineann le húsáid teanga agus an tábhacht atá leis an eadarghaol idir inseoireacht agus comhrá maidir le múscailt spéise agus coinneáil aird an léitheora. Tá memoir ar a óige díreach críochnaithe ag Ré trí mheán an Bhéarla agus tá súil len é a fhoilsiú i 2016.

With his 2015 publication for children, Matt Griffin has created an exciting world, one in which the lead character encounters a "fate that has been lying in wait for centuries". Early reviews have described the book as "a remarkable debut...one of those rare books that has the potential to imprint itself permanently in your memory". Matt has received many awards and accolades for his work in publishing, advertising and, in particular, the field of poster art. Clare County Library is delighted to welcome him to six of its branches this October.
Derek Mulveen’s Irish Tour to promote his book Oisin the Brave - Robot Island takes him to Clare this October with a Doodle Hour and Story-Time that will captivate the imagination of young listeners. Published by Eire's Kids Publishing, Oisin the Brave - Robot Island is a whimsical and imaginative adventure through The Dolmen of Time. Derek’s stories will inspire his audiences to help him create exciting illustrations when he visits local libraries during Children’s Book Festival 2015.

Kim Hood grew up in Canada, but has chosen North Clare, with its wild seas and barren landscape, as her home. Finding a Voice is her first novel and was nominated for the Bookseller’s inaugural Young Adult Book Prize earlier this year. Her second novel Plain Jane will be released in the spring of 2016. Kim offers talks for teenagers that will touch on themes of not fitting in, mental health, disability and diverse families while her workshops for older children in Primary School will focus on facilitating students to find their own writing voice. 
Children are invited to join the buzz and explore the magic of stories with author Debbie Thomas in Kildysart, Kilmihil, Corofin and Newmarket on Fergus libraries. In her story workshops children will create their own characters, plots and settings using themes from Debbie’s new book Class Act, a buzzing tale of bees, courage and Curly Wurleys. Debbie’s sessions are guaranteed to be very participative and lots of fun, drawing on her experience of having written four books to date for children; Dead Hairy, Monkee Business, Jungle Tangle and her very latest is called Class Act.

Sadie Cramer’s delightful workshops for younger children were loved by teachers, librarians and children last year and this October Sadie will visit Kilmihil and Kildysart libraries. Her work with schools has been recognized by Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, earning her their inaugural ‘Above and Beyond’ Award in 2011. She is the illustrator of Juliette Saumande’s best-selling book for children Chop Chop Mad Cap. Sadie’s wide and varied experience in working with children ensures that her workshops will be accessible, participative and hugely entertaining for her young audiences.

Storytelling always features in the children’s book festival and this year is no exception. October is that time of year when the days grow dark and the nights grow long, - the perfect time to get together to hear a story or two. Author Dave Rudden (Knights of the Borrowed Dark, due Spring 2016) and storyteller Gráinne Clear will be coming to your local library to share stories of sea kings, stuffed monsters, invisible warriors and a whole family of mysterious witches.

Niall de Burca will visit libraries in West Clare on the 7th of October with his unique style that turns traditional storytelling on its head and drives it into the 21st century. His storm of stories for CBF 2015 will leave his audiences asking for more.
Michael Moylan, known the length and breadth of Ireland for his live history shows visits Clare’s libraries again this October with a fascinating, lead-in event for the commemoration of the 1916 Rising. During his hour-long, not-to-be missed show, children will dress in the clothes of the time and take up the guns of the Irish Volunteers and the I.R.B. With Michael’s expert knowledge of history in a show that has unique appeal for children, they will recreate the rising of 1916 and discover how our country became a nation.

Music and story workshops come to us courtesy of singer, songwriter, musician, TV presenter and script writer, Tadgh Mac Dhonnagain who is also the founder and director of the publishing company Futa Fata.
I gcomhar le Tionscadail na Litríochta, Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge tá an t-amhránaí, údar agus stiúrthóir Futa Fata, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, ag tabhairt camchuairt ar leabharlainn na tíre leis an seó spraíúil, siamsúil, SPRAOI SA LEABHARLANN. Is ar pháistí bhunscoile a freastlaíonn ar Ghaelscoileanna atá an seó dírithe. Árdófar díon na leabharlanna le neart rannta, amhráin agus scéalaíocht. Bígí linn. 

Futa Fata believes in building audiences for Irish books and its publications Gugalaí Gug Peigín Leitir Móir and Ceol na Mara are widely used in Irish schools. Tadhg will bring these stories to life for the children of Gaelscoileanna when he visits Shannon, Ennis and Kilrush libraries on the 7th and 8th of October.
Muso songwriting workshops will form part of the CBF line-up in Scariff and Killaloe libraries. Muso is an educational company that provides alternative learning workshops to schools around Ireland. Their sessions will focus on the art of songwriting to explore key areas of literacy. 

The wildlife of County Clare will come alive for children who visit Tulla, Newmarket on Fergus and Sixmilebridge libraries to hear David Lyons, Wildlife Ranger, National Parks and Wildlife Service. David will talk about the amazing wildlife to be found on our doorsteps. From the smallest flower to the biggest animal this presentation examines some of the many living things we find around our local communities and how each plant, insect and animal have their own methods to survive and thrive in their environment.
Drawing and illustration are synonymous with children’s books and who better to give children an insight into story creation through drawing than Clare’s very own Aidan Courtney. Cartoonist, former bookseller, book reviewer, workshop facilitator, editor, writer and publisher Aidan is the founder of Coimicí Gael. He has also written for publications in Ireland, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. He was a judge with Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year 2014 and when he’s not doing all that, it goes without saying that he simply loves to teach kids all over Ireland (and particularly in County Clare)how to make comics through Irish and English!

The Inis Reading Guide, published annually by Children’s Books Ireland will be available free of charge, just ask at your local library. The guide contains 270 book reviews over 84pages, organised by age section from 0-2 up to Young Adult alongside specialist poetry and non-fiction sections. 
Children’s Books Ireland is running an exciting competition to celebrate Yasmeen Ismail’s inventive Read Everywhere artwork based on the theme of this year’s festival. Young readers are invited to share the places they like to read; on the bus, in your treehouse, in the cupboard under the stairs?
Children are asked to simply take a picture in their favourite or most unusual place to
read and share it on Children’s Books Ireland’s facebook or twitter, using the hashtag
#readeverywhere. The lucky overall winner will receive €1000 worth of books for their
school library as well as a special personal delivery of books!

The ever-popular O’Brien Press Cover Design Competition once again allows fledgling
illustrators and designers to see their artwork on the cover of a published book. This year
Gillian Purdue’s title Conor’s Canvas has been selected for re-design in Spring 2016. The
lucky winner’s designs will not only be featured on the covers of the re-published book,
stocked in libraries and bookshops throughout Ireland, but will also be invited as guests of honour, along with their entire class to a special awards ceremony where they will receive five complete sets of Gillian Purdue’s books for their school. Further details on both competitions can be found on the CBI website www.childrensbooksireland.ie or at your local library.

With all of this and much more in store for October, 2015 is truly the year to read everywhere.
Let the celebrations begin!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Friday, 18 September 2015

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Headford 'Speak Out' - Gaillimh 2020 Galway - Re-imagining Headford


It was very interesting to finally put names to faces but also a great opportunity to hear new ideas. 



Here's the contribution I made to the 'Speak Out.'


Re imagining Headford

Today, May 22nd, 2015 could be a huge turning point in Ireland's history. Today is a day, when we as a people, have a chance to effect great change.
Change for the better.
Change which can only have far reaching and positive outcomes for those who are marginalised by society as it is.
Change therefore is a good thing, a thing to be embraced and worked through. Indeed our very existence is based on change itself.

The past number of years have been a grim period in the history of the State. Buried atrocities have come to the surface and we, as a people, have been forced to acknowledge and take ownership of this murky past. This however, is a necessary step towards progress. We can only grow and learn from our mistakes. In order to heal, we must first look at the root of the disease, confront it and adopt strategies for healing it. The same could be said on a personal level but on a community level also.

It is fitting that on such a historic day as today, that we have this forum to discuss the cultural re-imagining of Headford. One of the charming aspects of Headford is it's lack of self consciousness ( something I gravitated to when I originally came here over twenty years ago.)  There are no pretensions about the place. What you see is what you get. It's therefore, a great backdrop for creative expression and a good blank canvas to work on. It is important to reflect on the transition this town has gone through. Once it was a thriving market town, whereas now, with some exceptions, it is essentially a dormitory town. The vacant premises on Main Street, are a haunting presence which signifies how the town has yet to re-imagine itself. As it can never be the commercial hub it once was, it's infrastructure is crying out for an alternative use. This is where I think the focus should be. This is a wonderful and unique opportunity to really envisage a culturally thriving town brimming with potential and possibility.

Much of Headford's charm is tied up in its surrounds. We have a sprawling network of ancient monastic sacred sites. Headford is the gateway to Connemara, it is situated close to Lough Corrib, yet bus loads of tourists by-pass Headford daily. Why is that? What can we do to change it?
Why is it important to foster tourism?
The first and most obvious answer is the commercial imperative but the less obvious spinoffs are the new energy that visitors bring with them and how they can alter or enhance our own perspective on the place.

We also need to acknowledge that there is an awful lot of cultural activity already happening in Headford as it is, but a lot of it goes under the radar.

How can we showcase it?

Here are my suggestions:

Infrastructure

Establishing an interpretative centre which would combine a cultural centre, a museum, tourist office and in extension, a cafe and local crafts shop (in the empty bank building on the corner of Main Street.)

Establishing  a number of on street artists studios (in the existing unoccupied shops) where in addition to providing artists with workspaces, the artists are on hand to interact with public and showcase their work. It would be essential that there is no commercial imperative here. I'd propose a rent and rate free tenure for a fixed period. The obligation on the artists part would be to maintain a consistent & welcoming presence to all visitors and engagement with the community (visiting schools etc...)
In order for this initiative to work, a lot of attention needs to go into how these spaces are designed and presented. A uniform approach is required and the spaces need to be attractive.

This has been mooted with Headford Development, so the idea is already in the ether.

A coach car park and clear signage for the area would also be a prerequisite.

But before this can all happen, clearance needs to take place and a collective consciousness, regarding the intentions for the streets usage needs to be established.

Torch light processions are a wonderful way to unite communities and if the overall intention is to reignite Headford, what better way to do it than at night? The procession could start at the top of town and end at the square with a bonfire and fireworks.

'Love Headford' mural

Library - Presentation College Headford
Children's Art Gallery Headford - 2012
  

ABOUT GALWAY 2020 EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE BID

.   Galway (city & county) is developing its bid to host the European Capital of Culture in 2020. We are competing with bids from Dublin, Limerick and the South East region to win the designation of European Capital of Culture 2020.

·       Bids will be submitted in October 2015 and then the competition will be reduced from 4 to 2 with the winner being announced in September 2016.

·       If successful, the lead in period (2016-2020) is as important and in some ways more important than the title year itself. This period will see sustained activity aimed at building the capacity of cultural institutions and local communities in the broad field of culture.

·       The title year 2020 will see a year long programme of artistic, cultural and community events and projects.

Some of the defining features of the Galway 2020 vision and bid are:

§  We’re taking a broad definition of culture. One that includes the conventional art forms like music, dance, theatre and film etc. but also includes areas like sports, technology, education and cultural diversity.

§  We’re taking an inclusive approach. We want to encourage all sections of society to engage and participate in Galway 2020. We want to identify the barriers to participation in cultural activities for marginalised groups and work to remove these barriers between now and 2020.

§  We’re taking an open approach. We want to hear peoples ideas about what Galway 2020 should look like. We want to hear about existing and new projects that can be part of the overall Galway 2020 initiative. We want to create an environment for people and groups to collaborate and contribute to Galway 2020.

Some underlying themes for Galway 2020 are:

o   This is a Galway city and county initiative so we need to have a focus on creating greater connections and integration between the city and county.

o   Our projects need to have a European dimension and outlook. They need to connect with common European and international themes and issues.

o   Galway 2020’s ideas and projects need to be original, challenging and innovative.

Get in touch and get involved!


Website: www.galway2020.ie           Facebook: Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture