Feile Returns, with plenty for all

Feile an Phobail returns for the 23rd time in a couple of days, with a number of political events likely to interest some of our readers.

Dr Hanan Ashrawi (PLO) will be delivering the annual PJ McGrory Lecture on 6th August. The BBC’s Stephen Walker will be talking with Danny Morrison about his book ’Hide and Seek,’ written about the fascinating experiences of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a Vatican-based Irish priest during World War II.

Former Newsletter Editor, Austin Hunter, will be chairing a discussion with Darragh McIntyre about his ‘Blood and Thunder’ book, written about his time spent with a loyalist flute band based in Castlederg.

The ‘Bread and Roses: Women in Leadership in Ireland’ discussion will feature as guests Susan McKay (National Women’s Council of Ireland) alongside the PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable, Judith Gillespie, and Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson.

Three local Mayors will be officially opening events- including North Down Mayor, James McKerrow, who will launch the ‘King of the Bay’ event in Helen’s Bay. Mayor of Berkeley Tom Bates will officially open Shane Cullen’s stunning ‘Fragments’ exhibition, which records the messages of the ‘comms’ smuggled out during the 1981 Hunger Strike, is making a welcome return to the Feile.

A Trocaire Exhibition on the theme of ‘Stolen Land in the West Bank, as well as an Amnesty International exhibition on ‘Poster Power’ will be amongst the exhibits on display at St Mary’s University College, whilst a cross-community youth mural will be launched at the North Howard Street interface on the theme of ‘There’s more that unites than divides us.’

Interestingly, a Belfast Flags initiative will apparently attempt to erect 10,000 colourful bunting flags in a 1 and a half mile long line from the Springfield to the Shankill Road, supported by a cross-community youth programme.

The DUP’s Sammy Douglas will be officially unveiling a plaque at the unmarked grave of Samuel Joseph Scott, a 15 year old accidentally killed during the construction of the Titanic, before speaking about the significance of shipbuilding to the east of the city. Meanwhile, former Fianna Fail Mayor of Drogheda, Sean Collins, will be giving a walking tour of east Belfast loyalist murals. Tom Hartley’s ever-popular tour of Belfast City Cemetery returns again this year.

Renowned journalist and author, Fintan O’Toole, will be speaking about the economic collapse of the Celtic Tiger whilst the ever popular West Belfast Talks Back is scheduled to involve Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald alongside the DUP’s Jim Wells.

The ‘You Are Legend’ discussion will be based on the story of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War and the role of Irishmen from the Falls and Shankill. This will take place St Luke’s Church Hall on Northumberland Street.

Apart from the politics, comedian Des Bishop will be getting in on the act on 1st August,  whilst Philomena Lynott- mother of Phil- will feature at the Scribes at the Rock. And, of course, there will be the now annual Stormont Poc Fada will take place at the white house on the hill on Saturday 6th August.

Believe it or not, but that’s a very short summary of what is on in this year’s Feile.

The programme can be viewed here.

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