Tuesday 21 May 2019

Seán Óg joins Millstreet pupils for Language and Culture celebration night

Former Cork hurling captain Seán Óg Ó hAilpín met some new friends at the Millstreet Language and Culture Night
Former Cork hurling captain Seán Óg Ó hAilpín met some new friends at the Millstreet Language and Culture Night

John Tarrant

A changing ethnic landscape has surfaced in Ireland over recent years, with the town of Millstreet a typical example of the multicultural nature of modern Irish society.

This was highlighted by TY pupils from Millstreet Community School who recently hosted a Language and Culture Night featuring diverse nationalities amongst its pupils. The event brought together young people and their families in a celebration of the different languages and cultures evident in the Millstreet area. 

Special guest for the occasion was Fijian born Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, the former All-Ireland winning Cork hurling captain.

Young people were given the opportunity to introduce themselves, say a little bit about where they or their family was from including  Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Poland, Albania, Kazakhstan and  Zimbabwe .  

They spoke about traditions, food, and important days in their national calendar and also performing cultural dances. Seán Óg Ó hAilpín became an iconic sportsman of his generation and synonymous with the Cork hurling team.

Sean Og was born in Fiji in 1977, raised in Australia and in a wonderful sporting career, the former defender won 'Hurler of the Year' in addition to three All-Ireland Senior Hurling medals and captained Cork to outright glory in 2005. His mum comes from Fiji, his father hailed from Fermanagh, the family decided to settle in Cork.

"The first few years were difficult, I will be always grateful to my parents that changed my journey on bringing me to school and introducing me to GAA. My advice would be to take any opportunity get involved in activities, be they cultural, recreation or sport", he said.

"Be always proud where you came from, I'm proud of my mum's native home. Every Sunday is special to me, going to my mum's house and speaking the Fijian language", said Seán Óg.

Following music, song and dance, patrons was invited into the school canteen where a rich array of food from different countries was on display from different countries for everyone to taste. 

The Transition Year students and local families had been busy themselves cooking for the event and by the end of the evening all the serving plates were empty. Summing up the night John Magee, Millstreet Community School chaplain spoke of the diverse changes in Ireland over the last 20-years.

"One of the most noticeable has been the number of people who now call Ireland their home but whose family origins lie elsewhere in Europe or further afield. The Language and Culture Night provided us with a chance to recognise this increasing diversity while at the same time celebrating that which is traditionally Irish," he said.

The Language and Culture Night formed part of the Millstreet Community School's efforts to introduce development education across the school over the coming years, supported by World Wise Global Schools which is part of Irish Aid.