The Coole Park biannual series of cultural events continues this winter with a feast of culture for the upcoming Winter Arts and Heritage Programme 2009. The programme aims to integrate arts, culture, and education with a series of events for adults, young people, and families. Environment and heritage lectures, children’s drama and Lady Gregory plays, traditional Irish, Mexican, and classical music, creative writing, children’s outreach workshops, and an art exhibition by The Orchard Gort, all feature in the exciting programme of events taking place between now and December.
The programme is organised by the Friends of Coole in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Services, Galway County Council, Galway Rural Development, Galway Education Centre, Fáilte Ireland West, and the community of Gort. The 2009 Winter Programme brochure is now available from Coole Park and also widely available in Gort and surrounding areas.
This year a certificate in local history will be delivered at Coole Park Visitor Centre. The programme, delivered by NUI, Maynooth department of history, will run from October until March/April. This project is being part funded by Galway Rural Development under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing in Rural Areas. Applicants have already been recruited for this course.
The programme keeps the same format as previous years with heritage lectures on Mondays and arts events on Thursdays. The heritage series of lectures takes place on the first four Mondays of November from 8pm to 9pm. There are two series of two lectures, the first entitled Being Environmentally Friendly in the Home and Community. The first lecture is on home composting by Mark Molloy, assistant environmental awareness officer, Galway County Council, and takes place on November 2. The second is about biodiversity in the home and community and will be given by Elaine O’Riordan, Galway County biodiversity project manager.
The second series of lectures is entitled A Stranger’s Gaze and both lectures are by Terri Shoosmith, a NUIG PhD student who recently completed an MA in early modern history. Her lectures explore the written word left by those who have looked at south Galway through a stranger's eyes. Her lecture on November 16 is entitled ‘Mr Gregory has a Noble Nursery: Traveler’s Tales and the Tourist Gaze’. Her second lecture on November 23 is ‘The Town Land of Coole: Stony, Rocky and Two Thirds Profitable’.
Coole Trees in Winter Family Fun Day exploring Coole in early winter will take place on Sunday November 8 from 2pm to 4pm. The NPWS will show you how to identify native and non-native trees, even when the leaves are gone. Activities for families include outdoor walks and scavenger hunts and indoor fun art and craft work.
The arts events are generally held on Thursdays also from 8pm to 9pm. The first event of the winter programme is on October 29 with The Tale of Biddy Early and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Mighty Tales.
On Sunday November 1 from 2.30pm to 3.30pm a children’s drama, Tales from the Forest, will be performed by regular Coole visitors the Dog and String Theatre. The show incorporates storytelling, traditional glove puppetry, and life sized puppets. It is suitable for children aged four to 10 and parents. Advanced booking is required for this show as places are limited.
On Thursday November 5 renowned musician and singer/songwriter John Faulkner, currently musician in residence with Galway county and city councils, presents Farewell to Éirinn. Every province has contributed to the Irish diaspora so it is not surprising that there are so many songs that refer to emigration. Farewell to Éirinn presents a varied selection of these songs.
On Thursday November 12 the tradition of Lady Gregory’s memoir writing is upheld when Irene Graham tells us how to transfer our memories into memoirs. Ms Graham is founder of the internationally renowned writing retreat known as The Creative Writer’s Workshop and author of the recent publication The Memoir Writing Workbook.
The schools educational programme at the visitor centre continues again this year, now catering from first to sixth class students in Galway and Clare. The programme involves a guided tour of the exhibition at the visitor centre with Hilda Mac Lochlainn, an audiovisual on Lady Gregory, and field trips in Coole Nature Reserve with Gordon D’Arcy, Dolores Keegan, and NPWS staff.
Admission to all events at Coole are free. Contact Coole Park Visitor Centre at (091 ) 631804 for a copy of the programme or details on any of the events.