Pictured: ‘Hands in Harmony’, Deaf Community Choir, at the event on Sat.
The Deaf Community Centre in Limerick hosted a Family Fun Day, with people signing in harmony, on Saturday July 18 from 11am – 4pm in the famous Hunt Museum.
The highlights of the day were three 45 minute long performances from the unique ‘Hands in Harmony’ Deaf Community Choir, made up of Deaf and hearing people signing their songs through Irish Sign Language (ISL). ISL is most Deaf people’s first and natural language. Hands in Harmony wore their specially printed & embroidered T-shirts, sponsored by Silent Alert, a company specialising in Technology for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
This Deaf choir is the first of its kind in the Midwest area. It was formed in October 2014 and has already performed in a number of churches in Limerick, as well as the Deaf Community Centre and is booked to perform at the Prosperous Music Festival in Kildare in August 2015.
The Deaf Community Centre is based in Limerick; it supports deaf people and their families to improve skills, by way of courses and workshops and supports the community in issues that affect them. Many deaf people are spread out in the wider area of Limerick, Clare and Tipperary and they rely on the Centre as a place to meet friends and be part of the community that is so important to them; it is open and welcoming to all.
Included throughout the Family Fun Day were Guided Tours of the Hunt Museum, and Sign Language Interpreters were provided to make the tours accessible for all. There are many stalls; face painting, nail art, a cake stall, a bouncy castle, an ISL awareness information stall a raffle and much more, with plenty to do for children and families. This was the first family summer event held by ‘Hands In Harmony’ and it was a huge success.
The organisers are very grateful to the sponsors from the region; Silent Alert and Bridge Interpreting, without them this day would not be possible.
In recent years Deaf people have sought a number of changes to issues that affect them, particularly in the area of services that are delivered by the state.
A good example of this is children with hearing loss and deaf children; they can now be educated locally with many supports having been developed over the last number of years. As well as Sign Language classes being provided throughout the Mid-West so that the hearing population can attend classes and learn Irish Sign Language.
The event is expected to be the start of a new wave of public support for the Deaf community and it is vital to show how members of the Deaf community play a full role in their wider community. This was also an opportunity to promote Irish Sign Language, aiming to create awareness and therefore empower Deaf people to encourage the Government to recognise Irish Sign Language as an official language of the state, the natural language of the Deaf community – making it equal in the eyes of the state is accepting its importance in line with other languages.
To visit the Deaf Community Centre Limerick official website, click here
Check out the ‘Hands for Harmony’ Facebook page here
To see upcoming events at the Hunt Museum, click here