OH WHAT A NIGHT!
July 20, 2011
OH WHAT A NIGHT!
Draíocht Blanchardstown Celebrated its 10th Birthday in the company of President of Ireland Mary McAleese and over 400 guests on Friday 15 July 2011.
“The future for Draíocht has so many possibilities. We respond, initiate and facilitate; open doors to worlds that people could never imagine. If we keep doing that, our future is looking bright.”
Emer McGowan, Director Draíocht
Draíocht Blanchardstown was absolutely thronged on Friday evening and rightly so! The Centre was celebrating its 10th Birthday with an invited guest-list numbering over 420 people.
The President’s speech was heart felt and captured the feeling of pride and celebration of all who were in attendance;
“It’s the 10th Birthday and we are under the spell of Draíocht. It’s an amazing thing really … the place has just absolutely resonated with the joy that comes of having arts right at the centre of people’s lives. Draíocht set out to create a community where children would grow up with arts at the centre of their lives. They would not just be mere spectators, but contributors, as artists of some sort or another. It starts with a seed in the imagination in a human being … and the more seeds we plant, the more people who see themselves as people in whom that seed is growing, the richer our cultural life and in particular the richer our community life.
The world is more beautiful, the world is more full of wonder, the world is more full of good things, thanks to the world of Draíocht, thanks to the magic of the arts. It’s a great thing to come here, to celebrate 10 years. Now when you think of Blanchardstown, you think of Draíocht. It has become so intrinsic, so woven into the community. What a wonderful gift, right at the heart of the Community.”
Comments made by President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, during her speech in Draiocht, 15 July 2011.
Music was provided on the evening by children from The Castleknock School of Music, with a solo piano piece played especially for the President by student Rachel Armstrong.
All the local performing groups were represented among the guests, including Marie Barber and Gladys Coyle from Stagezone, Bernie Aston from Dance Fusion, Catherine Kennington from Coolmine Musical Society, Linda Tristram from Coolmine Drama Group, John Furlong from Coolmine Panto Group, Mary O’Reilly from the Pioneer Musical Society and Paul Cullen from OnQ Theatre Company to name but a few. Past performers and artists mingled with the crowd including singer Maria Tecce, actress Nuala Hayes, artists Desmond Kenny and Garvan Gallagher, all in the very capable hands of local MC Paddy Coyle.
Joining the crowd were local business representatives including David Donnelly, President of the D15 Chamber, Tony Lambert, CEO of Fingal Dublin Chamber, Pat Fitzgerald and Annette Davey from The Blanchardstown Centre, Fr Dan Joe, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Minister for Transport Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar, Mayor of Fingal Gerry Maguire, Deputy Mayor of Fingal Patrick Nulty, Councillors Peggy Hamill, David McGuinness, Daragh Butler and Kieran Dennison and Draíocht Board Members Stephen Vernon from Green Properties, Rory O’Byrne County Arts Officer, David O’Connor Chairperson and Grainne Ui Chaomhanaigh, Principal of Scoil Oilibheir.
Inside in the Main Auditorium a slide show of 10 years of memories played to a funky backing tune followed by ‘Happy Birthday to Draiocht’ sung by Coolmine Musical Society, recorded a few days previous in Scoil Oilibheir.
The entire evening was being broadcast live by local radio station Phoenix FM with Donal O’Sullivan at the helm. Key individuals were plucked from the crowd at various intervals for interviews, including County Manager David O’Connor, past board member Oliver Beirne and local hero Fr Dan Joe. The entire evening can be heard on Phoenix FM’s podcast on their website.
Children scurried around happily having had their faces painted and a bunch of teenagers from Dublin 15’s newest Youth Theatre were in attendance, having been featured the day before in an interview with RTE’s Drivetime, which the President happened to listen to on her drive to Draiocht just before she arrived at 6pm.
The good wishes continue to pour in via email and on Facebook and even includes and Happy Birthday message from none other than Jedward, which can be seen on Draiocht’s YouTube page.
Emer McGowan, Director of Draiocht since November 2003 says:
“There are so many aspects of working in Draiocht that are rewarding and enjoyable. There is great joy in working in a multi-disciplinary venue which facilitates people of all ages to engage in many art forms in a variety of ways. The fact that we have become an integral part of Dublin 15 is really important to us and also our work with children and young people is a part of our programme that I am really proud of. With more than 50,000 people a year visiting Draiocht, its great that the demand for a cultural facility came from the local community. It was a call that was met by Fingal County Council who built the arts centre. Local people have an investment in Draiocht, feel it’s theirs ... so I think it’s a vital part of the whole landscape that makes up Dublin 15.
You never stand still in an arts centre. You always want to develop more programmes, different programmes, reach new people, perhaps introduce more regular users to new work.
We have had a number of events to mark our 10th birthday. These include a 10 year retrospective of local artist, Des Kenny's work, a 15 month residency of artist Garvan Gallagher which included both an inter generational project and an exhibition of Garvan's own work; we also co-produced a children's show with Branar Dramiochta for our children's festival, Spreacha.
President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, joined us on July 15th to mark our 10th birthday. The President officially launched Draiocht in 2001. She also opened our Mosiac project in 2002 and our first children's festival in 2004. We are delighted that in this, the President's last year of office, she can join us for this milestone in our development.
There are so many memorable moments in the history of the venue, that there are just too many too mention. With 50,000 people coming in to the building each year and with 27,000 contact points with children/young people each year, every one will have their 'moment', the one that means most or has had the greatest impact on them. That's the joy in some ways ... you can never know them all.
The future for Draiocht has so many possibilities. We respond, initiate and facilitate;, open doors to worlds that people could never imagine. If we keep doing that, our future is looking bright.”
Emer McGowan, Director, Draiocht
Hundreds of events have taken place in Draíocht since it opened in 2001.
On average, there are 50,000 people through our doors every year and we have 27,000 contact points with young people each year.
Here are a few highlights.
drama & dance highlights
Draíocht has hosted international performances from companies from all over the world, including Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland and South Africa to name but a few, as well as performances from renowned Irish Companies, including Red Kettle, Fishamble, Barrabas, Calypso, City Theatre Dublin, Storytellers, Barnstorm, Lane Productions, Donal O’Kelly Productions, Dance Theatre of Ireland, Rex Levitates, Fidget Feet and Ballet Ireland. Draíocht has also hosted performances from the many local groups in Dublin 15 and environs, including Coolmine Panto Group, Coolmine Musical Society, Coolmine Drama Circle, Cecilians, Classic Revival, Pioneers, Marion Lennon School of Ballet, Fingal County Youth Orchestra, Stagezone, Dance Fusion, Starkids, Bolton School of Dance, Norma Breen Stage School, Voiceworks, OnQ Theatre Company and many more.
So many musicians have played to packed houses in Draiocht, including:
Frances Black, Luka Bloom, Johnny McEvoy, Liam Clancy, Juliet Turner, Kíla, Tommy Fleming, Paddy Cole, The Fureys & Davey Arthur, Christie Hennessy, Mary Coughlan, Brian Kennedy, Rebecca Storm, Dickie Rock, Red Hurley, Freddie White, Don Baker, Brendan Shine, Hazel O’Connor, Eimear Quinn, Niamh Kavanagh, Louis Stewart, Honor Heffernan, Leslie Dowdall and The Three Tenors.
Tommy Tiernan, Dara O’Briain, Jarlath Regan, Deirdre O’Kane, Des Bishop, Jason Byrne & Kevin McAleer have made packed houses laugh at Draíocht. So too have David O’Doherty, Karl Spain, Kevin McAleer, Maeve Higgins, Colin Murphy, Brendan Grace, Neil Delamere, Jon Kenny, Eric Lalor, Andrew Stanley and Andrew Maxwell.
Children & youth arts highlights
Thousands of children have engaged in all sorts of workshops and projects at Draíocht including drama, sculpture, singing, choreography and painting.
The Mosaic Masterpiece Project (2002), made by 350 children from 12 local primary schools working with 5 artists, takes pride of place just inside Draíocht’s front door.
Draíocht’s children’s festival, Spréacha, launched in September 2004 is now an annual festival attracting over 3000 people a year.
Visual arts highlights
Since opening in 2001, Draíocht has hosted exhibitions featuring more than 350 artists, in more than 100 exhibitions and has housed 18 Artists in Residents in its Studio for periods ranging from 3 months to 15 months.
The two Galleries have been used to host local, national and international work comprising a vast array of media, from painting, photography and sculpture to video, sound and visual new media. Local artists awarded residencies in Draíocht’s Artists Studio include David Balfe, Desmond Kenny, Genevieve Harden and Paul Coffey. Amharc Fhine Gall, now in its 8th year, showcases work from Fingal County Council's Collection each year in Draíocht.
Draíocht is generously funded by Fingal County Council with additional funding provided by The Arts Council. Draíocht also has a loyal network of Friends who contribute annually to the Company.