While the events centre saga continues, it was interesting that one of these events took place under the shadows of the new student accommodation that has shot up next to the proposed site on South Main Street. Last weekend, Bishop Lucey Park hosted a multicultural family day and it was a wonderful celebration of the different communities in Cork.
The New Communities Partnership (NCP) put together the event, celebrating the different cultures with music, dance, food, and entertainment from all corners of the world. There have always been different communities from all over the world living in Cork, but it only became really pronounced at the turn of this century, when Ireland’s economy became relatively strong.
Ireland’s emigration tradition continues and it’s been a huge part of the fabric of our nation, and there are far more people of Irish descent living abroad than here.
It has been interesting to see us welcoming lots of immigrants from other countries in the last 20 years. There is still a certain element of scaremongering whenever we receive immigrants, but overall most Irish people are welcoming and most immigrants end up feeling part of our own community. This is not always visible and events such as last Saturday’s are important in helping further integration and understanding and they help build friendships too. Many of these different communities are bringing up their kids as Irish, but it’s important for any migrants to keep a hold of their own cultural traditions from their mother country.
Sometimes the cultural clash in Ireland leads to exciting new melting pots of music and art and some of the acts performing last Saturday combined music from abroad with Irish music. Some of the strongest music communities of the world, such as London and New York, are built on these melting pots and culture clashes and in Cork you can already see how this benefiting us across multiple spectrums, from sport to music and from arts to culture.
In Ireland we are currently enjoying one of the best music scenes we’ve had in decades, and many of the artists making it are a product of these melting pots. Rusangano Family, Loah, Jafaris, Soule, Leo Miyagee, and Outsiders Ent are just a few, but there are hundreds more.
Last Saturday the music range was incredible. Citadel performed world music from Pakistan, Eastern Europe, and Africa, while the Light Runners brought us wonderful reggae vibes that were perfect for soaking up the early evening sunshine. The Latin American Community provided some of the most memorable performances, while Amdie and the Mexican food and dancing was amazing. China, Sudan, Jordan, France, and Brazil were also represented, and there were many other communities too, offering food and music and art and culture to very enthusiastic crowds who also enjoyed the wonderful weather. Club Ceoil from Ballyphehane performed, as did the Indian community in Cork who are always great at turning up the party atmosphere, but as always, it was very much the variety of acts that made it such a great day.
Bishop Lucey Park is a great facility and it’s possibly underused for such events, but it’s great to see the city council backing these parties. In a few weeks, Africa Day will bring a wonderful line-up to a similarly free event in Fitzgerald Park, one of many such events for Africa Week Cork 2019.
City Hall in September hosts a huge multicultural celebration and there are a number of such events taking place on an annual basis in Cork. The parks are amazing, especially in the sunshine, and free events in the middle of the city help attract people who would not get to them otherwise. This is our city after all, and it’s hard to top Cork when the sun shines.
Finally, a quick mention of congratulations to It Takes a Village festival in Trabolgan, who hosted their second annual festival in east cork this weekend. This festival is not gonna be Cork’s best kept secret for much longer, and it will be hard to top on the circuit this summer. Next year should be amazing!