Famine Commemoration Event at Down County Museum

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Friday, June 19th, 2015
The 8th Annual National Famine Commemoration will be held in Newry city on Saturday 26th September 2015. Famine Poetry04 (2)In recognition of the fact that the Great Famine affected all parts of the island, the location of the National Commemoration is rotated annually across the four provinces of Ireland. This is the first time the event will be staged north of the border and to mark that Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is organising a number of Famine themed educational activities for schools and groups. Full details of the commemoration programme, which will take place at Albert Basin Newry, are currently being agreed between representatives of the Dublin Government and the Council and will include a formal state ceremony as well as cultural, historical and musical events appropriate to the occasion. One of the first events to take place was at Down County Museum during the first week of June when local schools had the opportunity to take part in poetry writing workshops with well-known poet Deirdre Cartmill. Deirdre Cartmill is a Belfast based poet and writer who has published two poetry collections The Return of the Buffalo (Lagan Press, 2013) and Midnight Solo (Lagan Press, 2004). She received Literature Awards from the Arts Council in 2000, 2003, 2008 and 2012 and has been shortlisted for a Hennessy Literary Award as well as being a finalist in the Scottish International Open Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and have also been widely published in magazines and journals. She has given many poetry readings at events and festivals, such as at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s and the Belfast Book Festival. Pupils from primary and secondary schools in the area worked with Deirdre to create poetry about the impact of the Famine in County Down and its effect on local communities. Participating pupils and teachers were delighted to have the chance to enhance their creative skills and create work which will provide a lasting legacy of the Famine commemoration event. The Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Naomi Bailie visited the Museum to welcome some of the participating pupils to the workshops and said, “I would like to welcome poet Deirdre Cartmill to the Down County Museum and I am delighted that pupils from the area will have the opportunity to work with a practising poet. “I hope they will be inspired by the workshops to develop their creative skills. The hosting of the Famine Commemoration is an honour for our area and I look forward to seeing other groups involved in projects to examine this crucially important era in our history,” she added. For further information please contact Down County Museum on 028 4461 5218.
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