Cruinniú na nÓg: Jam-packed fun day of creativity to take place online

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Creative Ireland – Longford is inviting the young people of Longford, to join them for the annual Cruinniú na nÓg day of free creativity for children and young people on Saturday June 13.

Cruinniú is an initiative of Creative Ireland, which is an all-government programme that recognises the crucial importance of culture and creativity in the lives of everyone, especially our children and young people.

The main aim of the day is to provide access to, and encourage the participation of, children in ‘making’, ‘doing’ and ‘creating’.

Speaking to the Longford Leader, Longford Cruinniú na nÓg Coordinator, Mary Carleton Reynolds said, “This year, because of the Covid-19 crisis, the Cruinniú na nÓg programme will be a very different, but enjoyable, experience as all of our events are going online.

“We have put together a very exciting and diverse programme showcasing the creativity of young people in Longford and offering an opportunity for everyone to get involved in something creative at this time.

“We are putting out a call to everyone to explore their own creativity and to experience some of the activities such as art, music, creative writing, craft, gardening, coding, cookery, mindfulness, etc.

“We will also be showcasing some of the online creative projects young people have been engaged in during the lockdown, including our Household Heroes and Art in Nature projects.”

Backstage Theatre are getting involved in the day, with their Young Innovators project. They are hosting a very exciting programme which includes Fighting Words creative writing workshops and puppet-making for the little ones (6-9 years) with artists Fionnuala and Maisie.

All of these workshops are taking place during the week, starting on June 8, with the completed work being displayed on Cruinniú day. For more information, or to book your place, visit the Backstage Theatre website, backstage.ie, and their Facebook page.

Other Cruinniú projects taking place on the day include, the Longford School of Rock, led by coordinator Shane Crossan, which has taken on a very ambitious project recording 37 of the School of Rock students singing the Nirvana classic, Smells Like Teen Spirit, recorded at the homes of the young people involved.

There will be a TV magazine-style programme profiling a selection of Longford teens from across the county who were inspired to write, sing, perform, dance, paint, etc will go out at 3pm on the day on the Creative Ireland Longford Facebook page and also on the Longford Library YouTube channel.

Among young creatives featured on the programme are: Heulwen Dawson Stanley, a writer who attends Ballymahon Vocational School; Daire Ní Mhuirí, a member of the Backstage Young Innovators Festival; Tommy Cunningham, a singer and musician from Granard; Luke Casserly, a member of the Attic in Longford who is involved in the Hype Festival; Katie and Maryann Lynch, dancers from Ardagh; Ciara Farrell, a visual artist from Longford town; Daniel Penrose, a musician from Longford town; Mary Tully, a photographer from Drumlish, and Eric Ehigie, Equality Officer with the ISSU and a former student of Moyne Community School.

Traditional music is very strong in this county, with three very active Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann branches in Granard, Edgeworthstown and Newtownforbes.

To celebrate this, over thirty young and very talented traditional musicians including the Lynch family from Mullinalaghta who are members of the John Dungan Branch of Comhaltas, and the Ryan family from Edgeworthstown members of Joe Callaghan Branch of Comhaltas will give a short online performance on the day.

The Mostrim Players have been very creative on social media throughout the Covid-19 crisis and their Youth Players are going to debut two short plays, written by members Kate McLoughlin and Jimmy Connell. These will be broadcast on the Mostrim Players Facebook page.

Still Voices Short Film Festival will host the premiere of three short animations produced by local animator Mary Smyth, who worked with three local primary schools, St Joseph’s Longford, Gaelscoil Longfoirt, and St Mary’s National School Drumlish.

This project was completed prior to the schools closing due to the crisis. These short films will be shown on stillvoicesfilmfestival.com and their Facebook page.

Gardening is a very creative activity and all the family are invited to join Mary Holmes in her garden where she will demonstrate how to make a bug hotel.

Children that love cooking and baking can join Fiona Egan in her kitchen at the Cloughan Farm Cookery School for some creative home-baking!

Finally, for all the young children who love good story, our local libraries will be hosting lots of storytelling sessions throughout the day, with the very popular Maggi, Eimear, Rosemary, Stella and Teresa. Out at the Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, Ann will be a giving special retelling of the legend of Midir and Etain.

Coding has been described as basic literacy in the digital age, but it is also very creative. Siobhan Grealy who has been running online coding classes for children during the lockdown, is inviting kids to join her on the day to design their own creation, which could be a piece of art, animation or a game – there will be prize for the best entry.

Nationally, on the Creative Ireland Cruinniú site there are loads of events happening including ‘Céilí in the Kitchen with Teach Damhsa’, Make Your Own Kite and much more. Visit cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie for details.

For information on everything that is happening throughout the day in Co. Longford, visit @creativeirelandlongford on Facebook.