The atmosphere was incredible in Dundalk on 1st June 2023, as the centre in Chapel Street turned into a celebration of culture, music, food, dance, traditional costumes and a coming together of learners from Ireland and over 30 other countries around the world.
The programme of events included the following: traditional Irish music and dance, a selection of interactive quizzes using our touchscreen interactive boards and a games room with a range of card, board and traditional games like marbles drafts and a camogie demonstration. Learners also supplied games from their own countries such as Billes marbles from Togo and Algeria, Dama, a chess-like game played on the ground in Algeria, and Basra a famous card game from Syria. Learners taught each other the rules.
The music room was lively all morning: Deirdre Ni Bhuachalla from Music Generation Louth gave a demonstration of the harp, and the room was enthralled with the beautiful sound of the instrument. We then had a drumming workshop facilitated by Pearse Mc Mahon from Youthreach Dundalk. People loved learning a few beats. We saw clearly how music and dance unites people across cultures. Megan Gallen, a tutor in ALS Dundalk, showed that her skills extend beyond the classroom as she got learners to do an Irish dancing workshop. Everyone learnt a few steps. We would especially like to thank our learners Oliver and Anita who organised a disco for the room and Olayemi, Patience, Bosede and Rosemary who showed us traditional dance moves from Nigeria.
The Adult Literacy Organiser of the service Kinga Byrne said “we wanted to celebrate the diversity and inclusion that is reflected in the service and give our learners an opportunity to celebrate together before the end of our term.” The building was decorated with bunting from 39 different flags to celebrate the different countries that are represented in the centre. The learners had written pieces about their culture, traditions and favourite things and these stories were read throughout the morning by all our visitors.
The atmosphere was one of togetherness and appreciation of cultural differences. There was craic and laughter as learners shared stories, food and dance. All of the learners attending the event thoroughly enjoyed the day and participated in the workshops on offer. Many were meeting learners from other classes for the first time and sharing their stories. The food brought by the learners was amazing and all went home so full, we would like to thank all the learners for the incredible effort that they all put in when preparing the food for intercultural day. The Coffee from Ethiopia made by learners was amazing and we also had fresh Chinese tea.
The measure of the events success was that everyone stayed for the three hours and all the workshops were packed to capacity. Kinga said “I was particularly impressed with the effort that learners had made to dress in traditional costume which added greatly to the atmosphere on the day. The variety of food on offer was amazing and learners brought their favourite dishes from around the world.”
If you are interested in FREE classes in the areas of literacy, numeracy, basic computer skills or English for Speakers of Other Languages, please call into us, LMETB Adult Learning Service, Chapel Street, Dundalk, email [email protected] or call us on 042 9353591. We look forward to hearing from you.