Festival celebrates diversity

HUNDREDS of students from schools throughout Co Louth joined Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) students to celebrate cultural diversity in our schools and the wider community in a day long festival.

HUNDREDS of students from schools throughout Co Louth joined Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) students to celebrate cultural diversity in our schools and the wider community in a day long festival.

Co Louth VEC and DkIT jointly hosted Ceilliúradh Sinn Le Chéile (All of Us), one of the biggest celebrations of culture and diversity in the region on Wednesday, March 16.

Primary schools, second-level schools and community organisations participated in a wide-ranging programme of music, dance, exhibitions, food tastings and other activities.

The keynote speaker for the day was Dr Christopher Stange, Consul to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines. In his presentation, Dr Stange highlighted the strategic location of Co Louth, and the pivotal role of the VEC and DkIT in the cross border context of multiculturalism across the island of Ireland.

Long queues formed early in the day for the free tasting of food from over 15 different nationalities at the International Food Fair, which was prepared by students from the Hospitality Section of DkIT.

Tara Education Centre’s colourful exhibition of Irish Traveller culture, with the Living History Exhibition housed in a traditional Travellers’ sheltered tent, attracted a lot of attention. The demonstrations of traditional tinsmith techniques, and a lecture by Martin McDonagh from the Navan Travellers’ Education Centre on Traveller language and customs proved popular.

The event included exhibition stands by over 20 organisations, a series of creative workshops for pre-school children, a free lunchtime concert, and informal music sessions.

International group dance sessions and screenings of films on diversity and ethnicity were among some of the other activities.

The CEO of Co Louth VEC, Dr Pádraig Kirk, and President of DkIT Mr Denis Cummins, both pledged to keep the themes of cultural diversity and ethnicity to the fore in their plans for future joint collaborations.