Thursday, July 31, 2014

Féile an Phobail (31 July to 10 August): music, drama, politics, talk, tours

Féile an Phobail – sometimes known as the West Belfast Festival – is now underway, running until 10 August. The programme is 100 pages thick; the festival is enormous, taking in music in the 5,000 capacity tent in Falls Park, drama, debate, talks on the First World War and Palestine Day, sport, tours and sessions in pubs and libraries.

Thursday 31 July

On the Journey to Peace and Reconciliation at 8pm in St Mary’s University College // Colin Parry’s 12 year old son was killed when an IRA bomb exploded in Warrington in 1993. He’ll be sharing his journey along with deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Friday 1 August

Hidden History: Protestants and the Irish Language at 3pm in St Mary’s University College // Linda Ervine speaking about the influence of the sometimes unexpected Irish language on places, words and organisations, and debunking the myth that Irish is to feared.

Shrieking Sisters at 7.30pm in the Library at Coláiste Feirste // In the early hours of 1 August 1914 a group of suffragettes led by Lilian Matge attempted to blow up Lisburn Cathedral. The drama asks what made a respectable middle class supporter of women’s rights resort to active militancy? Written by Maggie Cronin and Carol Moore, and joined on stage by Laura Hughes. £7.

Monday 4 August

Human Rights & Investigative Journalism at noon in St Mary’s University College // Amnesty’s annual event returns with investigative journalist Iain Overton. He has exposed the truth about CIA drone attacks, deaths in police custody and been witness to the devastating impact of armed violence – making documentaries under fire in Somalia, Iraq and Colombia. Chaired by Malachi O’Doherty.

An End to the Drift or a Drift to the End: Protestants and Politics in Contemporary Ireland at noon in Clifton House // A self-confessed dissenter, researcher and writer Robbie McVeigh offers a radical re-envisioning of Irish Protestant identity as a way out of present discontents.

Haiku Peace & Prayer Flags Workshop at 1pm in Cultúrlann //Embrace your inner poet, write a haiku, express it on fabric and string it up as a Tibetan prayer flag! Free, for children aged 8 to 13. Contact kevin at feilebelfast dot com or 028 9031 3440 to book a place.

Ceasefire at 7pm in St Mary’s University College // Twenty years on from the ceasefire announcements from the IRA and the Combined Loyalist Military Command, journalists reflect on those headlines and the beginnings of a new peace. Eamonn Mallie, Charlie Bird, Ivan Little, Judith Hill and Brian Rowan.

Tuesday 5 August

The Wheelchair Monologues at 8pm in Cultúrlann (runs Tuesday 5–Thursday 8) // Aisling Ghéar’s one-man show, in which Gearóid Ó Cairealláin takes a look back over the ups and downs of his wheelchair bound life since suffering a haemorrhagic stroke at the age of forty-eight. The man who founded the Irish language daily newspaper Lá and co-founded both the Cultúrlann and Raidió Fáilte has slowed down somewhat. But his spirit and zest for living remains. In Irish with live translation into English via personal headset.

Wednesday 6 August

West Belfast Youth Talks Back at 2pm at Whiterock Leisure Centre // Anna Lo (Alliance MLA), Stephen Corr (Sinn Féin councillor), Sean Connolly (local author) and other as-yet unnamed panellists will be joined by chair Yvette Shapiro.

West Belfast Talks Back at 7pm in St Louise’s Comprehensive College // Noel Thompson hosts this year’s panel discussion. Confirmed panellists include Fr Tim Bartlett (Catholic Church), Rev Lesley Carroll (Presbyterian Church in Ireland), Danny Kennedy (UUP MLA, Minister for Regional Development) and John O’Dowd (SF MLA, Minister for Education).

Thursday 7 August

Dealing with the Past: Hugh Orde in Conversation with John Ware at 3pm in the Balmoral Hotel // Hugh Order was the first Chief Constable of the PSNI and is now President of the Association of Chief Police Officers. He’ll be speaking about dealing with our past and truth recovery with well-known investigative journalist John Ware. Relatives for Justice chair Clara Reilly will open the two hour event, and Denis Bradley will make the closing remarks.

Poppy and Lily at 3pm in Felons Club // Historian Philip Orr and Joe Austin from the National graves Association will discuss these two symbols.

Saturday 9 August

The Story of Philomena at 1.30pm in St Mary’s University College // Martin Sixsmith speaking about his introduction to the story of Philomena Lee, an unmarried mother whose son was taken away from her at the age of three because he was born out of wedlock. The story became a book and a much talked-about film.

Also ...

Walking Tour of Milltown Cemetery at 11am daily from Saturday 2 to Saturday 9 August. Pod Devennay picks through 130 years of history over two hours. £5, pay at gate. Tom Hartley’s book Milltown Cemetery: Written in Stone launches this evening at 6.30pm in St Dominic’s Grammar School. (Available for £9 on Amazon as well as local bookshops.)

Walking Tour of Belfast City Cemetery at 2pm daily from Saturday 2 to Saturday 9 August. Tom Hartley tells the story of the city’s troubled history, its rich, its entrepreneurs and empire builders in a tour that promises to “upend old stereotypes and provide a fresh approach to the history of Belfast. £5, pay at gate. Tom’s book on Belfast City Cemetery is also relaunched tonight. Available for £13 on Amazon as well as local bookshops.

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