Pictured Above: Seamus Murnane enacting the folktale of Gearóid Iarla at the launch of the Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival last Friday. Picture by: Alan Place.
Proving there is always something new to learn, Limerick’s Lifelong Learning Festival is back for the 5th year running later this month with over 150 events and activities to interest, entertain and engage people of all ages.
The 2015 Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival takes place from March 23 – 29 and was launched on Friday at Lough Gur Heritage Centre by local actor and Heritage Centre patron, Jon Kenny, accompanied by the Chair of the Municipal District of Cappamore-Kilmallock, Cllr Eddie Ryan, and the Chair of the Learning Limerick Steering Group, Deirdre Minogue. Mr. Kenny welcomed everyone to the launch at Lough Gur, one of Ireland’s archaeological and historical gems that offers a range of educational programmes for both secondary and primary schools.
The Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival is organised by the Learning Limerick Steering Group, which is representative of all of the main stakeholders involved in promoting learning across Limerick City and County. The theme for this year’s Festival is ‘Learning for Positive Living’. In her speech, the Chair of the Learning Limerick Steering Group, Deirdre Minogue, said: “This year’s theme provides us all with an opportunity to learn something new and make positive changes in our lives, and the lives of those around us. The fact that the Steering Group is representative of all of the main stakeholders involved in promoting learning across the city and county bodes well for the future. Our combined commitment to promoting lifelong learning opportunities can only have positive consequences for the communities we serve.”
As a learning element of the launch, local man John Carew told the folktale of Gearóid Iarla, 3rd Earl of Desmond, who as well as dabbling in magic composed verse in both Irish and French. As a punishment for his involvement in magic, he did not die but is said to live beneath the waters of Lough Gur. Every seven years he rides around the lake margin on his white horse, shod with silver shoes. When the shoes are finally worn, it is said that he will regain his mortal form and restore the glory of the Desmond’s. This was spectacularly enacted by Seamus Murnane riding a beautiful horse that appeared to be emerging from the lake.
Speaking at today’s launch, Cllr Ryan said: “Wherever in the county you may live and whatever your circumstances may be, there really is something for everyone to get involved in. Learning is a lifelong process that begins from the moment we are born and continues until our final days. This festival promotes different types and avenues of learning from traditional to learning for leisure and hobby interests. There are people and organisations within communities the length and breadth of Limerick ready, willing and able to help. The Lifelong Learning Festival is a showcase for these year-round opportunities.”
Entry is free throughout the festival week to all events. The selection of events again this year is varied, spanning across areas including: art and craft, music and dancing, sports and leisure, caring and health studies, gardening and horticulture, activities for children and young people as well as many events to support more traditional education and training areas.
The festival provides an opportunity for young and old to enjoy the wide range of learning opportunities which are available. Speaking at the launch, festival co-ordinator, Yvonne Lane, said: “For this year’s Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival we are involving primary schools across Limerick City and County in a Schools Competition, which is a new initiative to promote lifelong learning across schools. Three prizes will be awarded to schools which best capture the theme and overall spirit of the Festival. Photographs and descriptions of the wonderful activities taking place in primary schools during the festival will also be showcased on the Festival website.”
Free copies of the 2015 Festival Programme are now available throughout Limerick and on the website, which you can check out here. You can keep up with their daily updates also on their Facebook page here and on their Twitter here.
Read more about the Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival here.