History

The award winning and internationally renowned Scoil Samhraidh Mhic Reachtain festival (McCracken Summer School) was inaugurated in July 2000 and is currently one of the biggest Irish language and arts festivals in Ireland, having over the past 16 years established itself as one of the highlights on the city’s and the country's cultural calendar. The event’s programme consists of a wide range of arts, language classes, dance, indigenous music, drama, song, a full children's and teenager's programme, day trip and traditional craft workshops, with the teaching, promotion and usage of the Irish language at its core. The Summer School continues to build on its reputation for providing the community of North Belfast and the greater Belfast public with access to quality events, workshops and classes, at affordable prices, in an open, welcoming and communal environment.

What initially started as a community based Irish language festival reliant on various host venues for its concerts and ceilís, has continued to expand, garnering widespread acclaim, renown and support, now attracts visitors from all over Ireland, from Scotland, England, New York and Canada. As a result of this growth and increased demand for such a service and facility in north Belfast, Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain moved premises early in 2015 and we are now able to facilitate all of the above events (apart from the Summer School’s children’s programme) under one roof, in Áras Mhic Reachtain. Scoil Samhraidh Mhic Reachtain continues to be a community driven annual event which remains proud of its roots and thankful to the team of volunteers who help make it so.

From the first Summer School at which Belfast natives, Bréag performed, to the 2016 festival with six nights of music from the likes of Gráinne Holland, Clann Mhic Ruairí, John Spillane, Kíla, Aodán & Irial Ó Ceallaigh and Christine Bovill, Scoil Samhraidh Mhic Reachtain has had the privilege and pleasure to facilitate musical performances from some of Ireland’s finest singers, songwriters and musicians over the years - and we will continually endeavour to do just that.

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