If you were among those perceiving a hint of “Irish” in the air during the first week of August, then fair dues.
Photo: LaLa La Photo
And had you passed by the Black Stuff the evening of Saturday 6 August, you would have been in no doubt, for the Comhaltassummer school kids and teachers were demonstrating their Irish set dancing skills to the phenomenal sounds of the Kitchen Quartet.
This was a great culmination of the summer school week which saw almost 40 children aged from six to fifteen years of age immerse themselves in the Celtic arts of step-dancing, the tin whistle, Irish song and drama.
Parents and families of the students were treated to a series of uplifting performances on the final day of school, Friday 5 August, which showcased each of the elements mastered.
As the voice of the giant, Alessandro Gallenga, aged 8, impressed with his enormously scary voice, the volume of which defied his small frame. The dance solo by Ciara Lynch, age 10, was breathtakingly elegant, and the “History of Hurling”, set in the Bronze Age, was an incredibly witty play which had the audience in stitches.
Remarkably, this script was written by the students themselves under the guidance of Ciara, the drama teacher who wrote the remainder of the tales and plays performed.
The staff were a combination of Irish teachers in Luxembourg and teachers flown over specially from Ireland--all utterly charming, full of life and highly inspiring.
Asked what they most liked about the week, the students were equally enthusiastic. “I liked it all actually,” enthused Una O’Hannrachain.
“My favourite part is the drama,” added Cléona Hickey. “I like acting and the way we can edit the play ourselves,” she explained. “I love the Irish dancing,” said Ciara Lynch. “It’s really fun and we do really cool dances.” Livia Kiefer’s favourite element was the tin whistle: “I was here last year, so I’ve practiced a little and I’m much better now.”
Taste of Irish culture
The parents were invited to join their children in one final set dance that had everyone laughing and moving in different directions, much to the amusement of the staff. And when asked about the value of the school, the parents were clearly appreciative: “The children have absolutely loved it!” exclaimed Marie Elliot. “They’ve made lots of friends, loved the drama aspect and have been practicing the tin whistle all week. They’ve even learned some Irish.”
Anne Schmidt agreed: “Our kids are Irish and it provides them with a taste of their culture which they don’t get at school.”
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann was founded in Luxembourg in 1982, and aims to promote the Irish language and culture through music, dancing and singing. It has a mixed membership of all nationalities and organisers stress that they always welcome new faces.