Borrowed Identities - we are back again!
learners from 9 different countries spending 12 days in 13 cottages and
a hostel in Dublin working together with local inhabitants of Achill
on a European-funded ERASMUS Intensive Programme
the sun is shining, the sky is blue and we are back on Achill Island.
A beautiful place where people are friendly and kind and go a long
way to make us feel at home. It has become a yearly routine to come
here in February - we said we would be back and here we are. We had
promised it to ourselves, our partners at Achill
Tourism, the Achill Cliff
House and all those who had worked with. Not only is it lovely
to meet the friendly residents of the island again but it is also
good to see our good old friends, the majestic Slievemore, the Minaun,
the Keel Beach and all the other familiar sites. They all bring back
memories of previous years’ projects. The stones in the Deserted Village
are still standing in the same place, the beach is just as inviting,
and yet something is dramatically different: There has not been any
rain for the whole week and the sun is shining as if it was early
summer! What a difference the sun makes!
the most important thing about our return is to make more friends
and to continue with what we started in previous years. This year’s
projects started off very ambitiously and with many interesting
ideas which were carried out with energy and enthusiasm. We had a
“Global Responsibility” workshop which involved some local people, a
“Cultural Artefacts” workshop, a “Media Workshop”, a workshop that
looks into the implications of immigration and emigration. One of the main objects of the workshops was to bring the
international groups in contact with Achill community, to find
common ground and to produce something together as a group. The
European visitors were able to learn a lot from the local community
but strangely enough, the locals also learned from the visitors who
saw the island from a different angle. "It was fascinating to look
at something so familiar from a different perspective" said Kieran
Sweeney, who took part in the Media Workshop. The intense focus that
the European group bring to the community encourages the local
people to look at the cultural heritage that is theirs in light of
the greater European Community context.
brave enough to live life creatively.
The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You
have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness
of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard
work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What
you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will
American Actor Alan Alda
students seem to be very busy at any given moment of time either
interviewing Achill community members on the beach, or climbing the
Slievemore, or chatting to the locals in the cosy atmosphere of the
public house or listening to Irish music performed by the local
musicians. Thinking back it seems unbelievable how much the group
have achieved in terms of cultural interaction during the relatively
short time they have been here. All in all this journey has
strengthened our friendship with the Achill community and has made
us determined to come back yet again next year.
final presentation of the results in the Keel
IT-Centre was a great success and displayed the quality
of the week’s work in the workshops. "The participants
of the workshops must have worked non-stop during their stay
on the island" said Sean Cannon who had helped facilitate
our visit. As the evening unfolded and each group presented
the results of their stay it became evident that despite the
discipline and demands of the various workshops a lot of fun
was had by all. As cultural difference was the order of the
day in the workshops (a minimum of three different cultures
had to be represented in each workshop), one sensed a unity
of purpose in achieving the set tasks. It was an evening of
celebration - a recognition of cultural differences but more
so a recognition of a unifying creative spirit shared by all.
Thank you Achill for once again making us feel so welcome in your
community. The beauty of the island and the warm reception of the
islanders is an experience never to be forgotten. We will return to
Hungary, Denmark, Lithuania, England and Germany with Achill in
our hearts and our minds!
enjoy the following travelogue in which you can follow
the workshops activities of the group during their stay.