We managed to pull off what turned out to be the biggest, busiest and most successful McCracken Summer School to date, with up to 280 adult learners participating in Irish classes daily throughout the week, hailing from all over Ireland, Scotland, England, from Canada and even from New York! Over 60 children took part in the workshops, youth club and the summer camp each day, organised with the use of the new facilities at Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin on the Cliftonville Road – so a big thank you to them.
We had the privilege of witnessing some of Ireland’s finest singers, musicians and entertainers perform to a full house each night on the Barr a’ Tí stage in Áras Mhic Reachtain, from Enda Reilly, Eithne Ní Chatháin a.k.a. Inni-K, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Hilary Bow & The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, Las, Imlé, Dysania, Noeleen Ní Cholla, Noel Ó Dugáin (Clannad), Caitlín Ní Chualáin, Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde, Gearóid & Pádraig Ó Dubháin, to Megan Nic Ruairí. Not to mention Doimnic’s singing workshops and the daily music sessions from the legends, Meaití Jo Shéamais and Tamaí Ó Mealáid – who were joined by The Armagh Rhymers on International Day.
As always we received glowing feedback from all those who participated, with some requesting that the summer school be extended to two weeks they enjoyed it so much! We put this down to the high standard, quality and differing styles of the teachers taking the classes each day, the work and dedication of the volunteers from the surrounding area and of those associated with Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain, the hard graft and hospitality of those at the coal face providing tea and coffee to the masses three times a day, the kindness & understanding of residents in the local vicinity, and of course to the outright enthusiasm and commitment of the learners themselves.