McCracken Summer School 2016

After much preparation and anticipation the 2016 McCracken School opened on 24th July with a drama about a Methodist Irish Language activist, namely Alice Milligan and closed with a European flavoured concert on Saturday 30th July, to the venue filling voice of a performer akin to playing opera houses, Christine Bovill.

We managed to pull off what turned out to be the biggest, busiest and most successful McCracken Summer School to date, with up to 260 adult learners participating in Irish classes daily throughout the week, hailing from all over Ireland, Scotland, England, from Canada and even from New York! Over 60 children took part in the workshops, youth club and the summer camp each day, organised with the use of the new facilities at Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin on the Cliftonville Road - so a big thank you to them.

We had the privilege of witnessing some of Ireland's finest singers, musicians and entertainers perform to a full house each night on the Barr a' Tí stage in Áras Mhic Reachtain, from Gráinne Holland and her highly acclaimed accompanying musicians (Dónal Ó Connor, John McSherry, Brendan Mulholland, Seán Óg Graham & Eamon Rooney) to Clann Mhic Ruairí, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Catháin (Bréag), Eirú, John Spillane, Fear a' Tí Rónán Mac Aodh Bhuí, Kíla, Dysania, JJ Ó Dochairtaigh and Aodán & Irial Ó Ceallaigh. Not to mention the singing workshops with Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde and the daily music sessions from the legends, Meaití Jo Shéamais and Johnny Connolly - who were joined by The Armagh Rhymers on International Day.

As always we received glowing feedback from all those who participated, with some requesting that the summer school be extended to two weeks they enjoyed it so much! We put this down to the high standard, quality and differing styles of the teachers taking the classes each day, the work and dedication of the volunteers from the surrounding area and of those associated with Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain, the hard graft and hospitality of those at the coal face providing tea and coffee to the masses three times a day, the kindness & understanding of residents in the local vicinity, and of course to the outright enthusiasm and commitment of the learners themselves.

If you feel you've missed out, don't worry as we run events in Áras Mhic Reachtain, 283-289 Antrim Road, Belfast, BT15 2GZ regularly and of course the summer school will run again next year. Our Irish classes for all levels started on Monday (from 5th Sept.) and Wednesday (from 14th Sept.) nights from 7pm-9pm, and our coffee mornings run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10.30 - so contact us on telephone; 02890 749688, email;, facebook; Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain, or call in any time to sign up or take part. Classes are free of charge, donations welcome. We look forward to seeing you.