Tuesday 26 September 2017

Cruinniú na Cásca: Your guide to the free cultural and family events taking place

Clockwise from above: Performers from Cloria Choir, Bardzo Ladnie Foundation, Elve Choir, Chinese Irish Academy of Dance with Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys T.D., and Miriam O’Callaghan, Joe Duffy, Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, Bláthnaid Treacy, Keith Walsh and Sean Rocks
Clockwise from above: Performers from Cloria Choir, Bardzo Ladnie Foundation, Elve Choir, Chinese Irish Academy of Dance with Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys T.D., and Miriam O’Callaghan, Joe Duffy, Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, Bláthnaid Treacy, Keith Walsh and Sean Rocks
Pictured at The Photo call to launch The Cruinniú na Cásca, an new national day of culture and creativity which will take place on Easter Monday Nationwide, at RTE this morning were; TV presenter Blathnaid Treacy with Mae McCormack (4 and a half), Iseult McNamara (3) and Hailey Assaf (4). Credit: Colin O'Riordan
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

There'll be free fun and cultural activities taking place across the country tomorrow to mark Cruinniú na Cásca.

Here's our explainer with all you need to know about the action-packed event.

What exactly is it?

There'll be free events happening across the country, including concerts, food tastings, talks, film screenings and family activities.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says it promotes individual and collective self-expression.

He said: "On Easter Monday last year, the day after the formal State commemoration of the 1916 Rising, hundreds of thousands of people, of many nationalities and all ages, came out on to the streets of our capital city in a shared exploration of identity, citizenship and culture...

"(Cruinniú) is about extending that opportunity for cultural celebration to the entire country."

Who's behind Cruinniú na Cásca?

Movers and shakers: Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, with Julian Brigatti of Tango Fiesta watched by Iseult McNamara at the launch of Cruinniú na Cásca. Sportsfile
Movers and shakers: Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, with Julian Brigatti of Tango Fiesta watched by Iseult McNamara at the launch of Cruinniú na Cásca. Sportsfile

After the success of the centenary of the 1916 Rising celebrations last year, Arts Minister Heather Humphreys said it would have been "a mistake" not to try and build on that.

Several organisations - including 31 local authorities, RTE, the Office of Public Works, An Garda Siochana and the National Transport Authority - have all helped organised this extravangaza.

What do they hope to achieve from Cruinniú na Cásca?

Minister Humphreys said Cruinniú will look "at our heritage and our history but it's also about modern Ireland."

She also gave an insight into her hopes for the future of the festival, saying: "I am particularly keen to spread things right across the country.

"We have asked every local authority to create a programme this year, with a view to building it up, so it's a much bigger event into the future.

Pictured at The Photo call to launch The Cruinniú na Cásca, an new national day of culture and creativity which will take place on Easter Monday Nationwide, at RTE this morning were; TV presenter Blathnaid Treacy with Mae McCormack (4 and a half), Iseult McNamara (3) and Hailey Assaf (4). Credit: Colin O'Riordan
Pictured at The Photo call to launch The Cruinniú na Cásca, an new national day of culture and creativity which will take place on Easter Monday Nationwide, at RTE this morning were; TV presenter Blathnaid Treacy with Mae McCormack (4 and a half), Iseult McNamara (3) and Hailey Assaf (4). Credit: Colin O'Riordan

"It's about getting it started this year with a view to everyone having their own Cruinniú. This will be  anew national cultural day and it will become a cultural fixture.

"It is all about focusing on communities, engagement and participation in cultural activity on Easter Monday.

"So it's all about building on the momentum that was built in the last two years."

Read More: Free family fun while engaging with our culture and heritage

What will be taking place in Dublin?

Taoiseach Enda Kenny plays the bongos with the Afro-Éire group at the launch of RTÉ’s Cruinniú na Cásca at Dublin Castle this week. Photo: Tony Gavin
Taoiseach Enda Kenny plays the bongos with the Afro-Éire group at the launch of RTÉ’s Cruinniú na Cásca at Dublin Castle this week. Photo: Tony Gavin

Four sites have been picked to host events - Dublin Castle, Stephen's Green, Smithfield and Custom House - and each has a different theme.

The locations were chosen to maximise the potential participation for people, taking into account factors like public realm capacity and transport options.

Rosemary Collier of the Office of Public Works said: "You'll notice that there's a different theming in every location - Stephen's Green will focus on children and the imagination, Smithfield is a bit more about young adults and how they express their creativity.

"Through food and through the programming you're getting a very diverse range of cultural experiences and what it means to be Irish, and I think that is evident in the programming. It will speak quite loudly of diversity in terms of the themes, the content, the ideas, the demographics of people interacting with this; I think it will be evident in the event itself."

350,000 people are expected to flock to the capital tomorrow so Gardai and the National Transport Authority have been planning for this since Christmas.

Is there any happening outside of Dublin?

There will be celebrations happening in 26 counties to mark the first annual Cruinniú na Cásca.

Mayo was buzzing when they kicked off the celebrations today with Bee Creative, a family event in Ballina which includes a 'Bee in Your Bonnet' competition, music by The Bumblebees, face-painting and a treasure hunt.

The bee theme was picked as they are hoping to raise money for their chosen charity Bumbleance, the country's only interactive children's ambulance.

Cruinniú at Canadh le Chéile in St Saviour's, Arklow
Cruinniú at Canadh le Chéile in St Saviour's, Arklow

Longford has lined up three very different events, running in separate locations throughout the county.

The festival begins with magical history tours departing from Longford town at 9.30am on Easter Monday, while the afternoon features a family feast of storytelling in Ardagh, home of the Legend of Midir and Etain. The enchantment continues at dusk, with a Ceremony of Light and Music in the ruins of the 12th Century Cistercian Abbey in Abbeyshrule.

Wonderful things are planned for Co Kerry this Monday too, not least a light, art and music event called Lúmina, taking place in the Dingle Brewery Company from 4.00 to 8.00pm.

In Tralee there will be storytelling at the Kerry County Museum, and a host of attractions at Siamsa Tíre, including sculpture for children, Bold as Brass interactive workshops introducing kids to musical instruments, and songs, music and entertainment throughout the day. In Muckross Schoolhouse on Monday evening, Jimmy Crowley will give traditional music workshops and singalongs, in which the audience is expected to participate. You have been warned.

Read More:

In Cavan, Pakistani-born artist Amna Kiran is thrilled to have her exhibition at the Johnston Central Library form an important part of the programme there. The title is 'Safarnama' which means travelogue.

While some counties concentrate their efforts on one main event, or focus on a single town, the 'rebel county' is bringing its programme to both city and county. On Monday Cork city will open its historic buildings to the public, with free guided tours and family entertainment. If you've a head for heights, head to the Elizabethan Fort to enjoy some truly stunning views. But the fun doesn't end there.

Another highlight includes the Ghosts of Glenvagh's Past in Donegal, which will run from 1.40pm to 5pm.

It will see historical characters will share their stores as you wander through the caste.

  • For more information and to see what's happening in your area please visit rte.ie/cruinniu

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