Extinct creatures on the loose in Samhain street parade in Clonakilty

Posted on: 5th October, 2017

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

In association with the Clonakilty Arts Centre, a newly formed art collective, Geata Arts, is planning to resurrect the ancient legends and myths of Samhain, bringing them out onto the streets of Clonakilty in an extravagant street parade leading to a dramatic fire performance and the burning of the Great Elk under the full moon on Saturday, November 4.

The ancient festival of Samhain, corresponding to modern day Hallowe’en, was one of the most important events on the Celtic calendar. It was the transition into the darker, colder months of the year and for a brief moment, a time when the dead and beings of other worlds would walk amongst the living

Samhain has a unique cultural significance in Ireland, but over the years has waned in importance, giving over to the mass appeal and commercialism of Hallowe’en. Geata Arts aims reinvigorate this tradition and remind people of the deeper significance of this time of the year.

Under the theme ‘Extinct Ireland’, the group will parade through the town in traditional masks and ancient costumes, accompanied by otherworldly animals and spirits. They will dance to the command of warrior rhythms and regal horns, celebrating the unique cultural heritage of our ancestors

“It’s amazing to feel the excitement grow as more and more people get involved and it really begins to take shape,” says Ronan McLoughlin, one of the local parade organisers.

There will be many events on the days either side of the parade too; from October 31 to November 6, keep an eye out for wandering performances, art installations, a Death Café, Fancy Dress Céilí and much more. The parade itself begins at 7pm at the archway by O’Donovan’s Hotel.

An important part of the festival will be the Shrine of Remembrance located in Spillers Lane – a woven willow structure that everyone is invited to visit and leave a message or offering to loved ones who have passed on or to witness what others have left.

There shall be an original Shadow Puppet Theatre production ‘The Cow, the Crow and the World Below’ telling a story of Samhain in the weeks leading up to the main event and as a prequel to the parade.

The group has quickly generated a massive amount of interest in the West Cork town. With over a hundred people scheduled to parade through the streets, Geata Arts has already demonstrated the desire in many to return to a traditional, non-commercial and more inclusive festival spirit.

This is a non-profit, collaborative community event so all support is very welcome. The group is looking for volunteers to take part in the parade and help with stewarding and also to assist throughout October with creating props and floats, making costumes etc.

Donations of materials for creation such as fabric, paint, wood, willow, feathers, natural materials, etc are all most welcome. Please bring them to the Clonakilty Arts Center or The Workshop.

Monetary donations are also welcome and can be made to Geata Arts C/O Clonakilty Credit Union.

Updates and final programme will be posted on the Samhain 17 event page on Facebook and the website – www.geataarts.org

For more information or to volunteer contact Mark on 083 4533241 or email samhain@geataarts.org.

“We can’t wait to see you at the Parade!”

Photo: ‘Artichoke’
by Mark Dougherty

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17th October, 2018  ·  

SuperValu and AsIAm host unique exhibition in Clonakilty

SuperValu and AsIAm.ie will host a unique exhibition which will enable the entire town of Clonakilty to experience what it is like for people with autism to deal with the world around them. The exhibition, which is free to visit, will be hosted in the Clonakilty Parish Hall from 10am to 4pm on Thursday 27th September. The exhibition represents the final part of the four month journey the town has been on to becoming Ireland’s first ever fully accredited Autism Friendly Town and guests are invited to join on a ‘pop-in’ basis.

The exhibition uses an engaging “questions and answers” format as well as a series of activities to answer people’s questions and enable visitors to step into the shoes of those with the condition. This includes using sound, smells, touch and sight experiments to bring neurotypical (those without Autism) people into the world of those with the condition.

“People with autism often experience a sense of being overwhelmed and confused by what others see as normal life, and this exhibition will allow those attending to understand this more than they have done before,” according to the CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris. “Through visiting this exhibition we believe people will be much better equipped to engage with people with autism who they meet regularly in their day-to-day lives.”

Visitors are given an MP3 player which gives them an audio guide through 15 stages which allow them experience different aspects of life with autism.

Under SuperValu and AsIAm’s guidance, the town of Clonakilty has undertaken a commitment to become fully Autism Friendly – a first for anywhere in Ireland. Over the last four months Adam Harris, founder of AsIAm, and his team have been working with the entire community to receive official Autism Friendly Accreditation.

To do this the town as a whole must deliver:

Engagement and training 25% of businesses and voluntary organisations
Engagement and training of 50% of public services
Engagement and training of 50% of school communities
Engagement and training of 50% of healthcare professionals
Engagement of 3 employers
Reaching 25% of the town’s population
The town has almost reached these targets with this exhibition representing the last piece of the journey reaching and educating as many of the community as possible.

The exhibition was developed by the AsIAm Youth Leadership Team, a group of young people with Autism who act as advocates for the organisation. It is part of a larger campaign to engage young people in Autism issues which includes a social media campaign and a website, youthhub.asiam.ie

Around 1 in 65 people in Ireland live with Autism and are to be found in every community and school in the country. They apply for every type of job but are often misunderstood, excluded or left behind due to a lack of understanding in society.
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