There was great excitement in Longford town last week when the launch of the county’s Culture and Creativity Plan 2017 and Longford What’s on Guide brought together the cream of the region’s storytellers, musicians, writers and poets, film makers, photographers, dancers, artists and many more at Aras an Chontae.
With over 100 events taking place countywide throughout 2017, a platform on which to showcase all the very best that Longford has to offer will certainly be provided for this year. Her Grace, Sacha, the Duchess of Abercorn and Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mick Cahill launched the plan to a packed house at council HQ this evening.
The Duchess is a trustee of the Pushkin Trust a charity that brings school children north and south of the border together, and Longford school children have been participating in the programme for many years now.
“The cream of creativity in the county is gathered here this evening,” plan coordinator Mary Carleton Reynolds told those gathered to mark the very special event.
“This is the launch of the first county culture and creativity plan for County Longford and while it is something that has been talked about for a long time, it was with the help and encouragement of Creative Ireland that it has finally came to fruition.”
Ms Carleton Reynolds went on to say that the national plan was launched at Dublin Castle just three weeks ago, a plan she added, that included 31 counties nationwide.
“Our Government,” she continued, “Has put culture at the heart of our life here in Ireland and I think it is a very, very important thing that is happening and one that is culminating at a very good time”.
Those gathered heard that last year the nation commemorated the 1916 Rising and the birth of the Republic thus encouraging a bringing together of communities, from across the board, like nothing ever experienced before on these shores.
“Last year we proved the value of creativity and the way in which we all celebrated the birth of our nation; we celebrated through our writers; our artists; our musicians and all our creative people here,” added the coordinator.
“We are great storytellers not just in Co Longford but right across the country.”
RTE’s John Quinn - writer, radio documentary maker and author was also present as was well-known storyteller, Frank Galligan.
“Longford has been to the foreground in many ways with culture and creativity,” Mr Quinn told those gathered before bringing some humour to proceedings.
“What is creativity and what is it not?”, he then asked?
“We have developed a one size fits all education system/exam system rather than systems that help us find our element.”
He then went on to describe what the ‘element’ was.
“It is that place where things we love to do and things we are good at come together,” Mr Quinn smiled.
“Defining who we are and what we are meant to be doing; it is about marrying natural aptitude with personal passion.”
The writer and author then went on to talk about intelligence and its diversity.
“Intelligence is like our fingernail - it is familiar to us,” he added.
“The important question is not how intelligent are you, but how are you intelligent?
“What is your passion; what are you good at, how you can you marry both?
“You can grow into creativity.
“It is all about imagination; this requires you to do something rather than sitting round talking about it and that is all about possibility.”