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President Higgans address at Cloughjordan Community Amphitheatre

‘It would make anyone’s heart lift!’ – President Higgins opens the ecovillage amphitheatre

President Higgans addressing the audience at Cloughjordan Community-Amphitheatre launch

President Michael D Higgins addressing the audience at Cloughjordan Community Amphitheatre launch.

Cloughjordan Community Amphitheatre was officially opened by President Michael D Higgins on the eve of Earth Day 2017.

 

In a rousing speech to the gathered crowd of 350 people the President praised the latest development in the Cloughjordan ecovillage as “a work of vision, of reimaging.”

 

With seating capacity for 250 people, the amphitheatre is a new multi-purpose performance space designed to stage a diverse range of cultural events, from youth, amateur and professional drama to music concerts, educational talks, screenings and recitals.

 

President Higgins said it is an “important space of artistic learning and sharing” in the vision of the Cloughjordan native, Thomas MacDonagh, the teacher, revolutionary and poet who was one of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation.

 

The amphitheatre is built into a mound at the northern end of the Cloughjordan ecovillage, and is sculpted from the Tipperary landscape using permaculture design principles.

 

It incorporates a commemorative inscription, from Francis Ledwidge’s poem Lament for Thomas MacDonagh, crafted by local artists Lian Callaghan and Thomas Wollen.

 

The President and his wife Sabine were welcomed to the amphitheatre by ecovillage resident Prof Peadar Kirby and a guard of honour by the local Scout group. The opening included performances by local musicians – Rigs and Jeels; Weave; and Angela De Burca and Deirdre O’Leary – and a reading of Ledwidge’s lament by local resident Patrick Bergin.

 

Michelle Drysdale, a descendent of MacDonagh’s, also addressed the crowd. She described the amphitheatre as “stunning” and a truly fitting tribute to her great-grandfather.

 

“I know that he would have been proud of it and the community effort that made it happen,” she said.

 

President address at CA AmphitheatrePresident Higgins said he was honoured to hear MacDonagh’s relative speak and that MacDonagh understood that “you must be able to have a kind of integrity of imagination such as will allow . . . all of the passions of the heart.”

 

He lauded the founders of the ecovillage who came together some 20 years ago in the Central Hotel in Dublin “to share their dreams of what might be – a more ethical and sustainable life, lived in a community which isn’t easy and can have difficulties.”

 

“It’s the first anniversary of the Paris Agreement, and one of the things that strikes one, and particularly at my stage of life, is that very often you can look back at whole reams of words that really are quite distracting unless they are turned into reality.

 

“But here in the ecovillage so much is being turned into practical achievements,” he said.

 

He noted that the ecovillage is not alone, that it has a wonderful and important relationship with its surrounding communities and that there is an international ecovillage movement.

 

He quoted the mission of the Global Ecovillage Network: “A world of empowered people and communities designing pathways to a sustainable future while building bridges of hope and international solidarity.”

 

“These are inspiring words translated into new ways of living here in Cloughjordan . . . about how we might live together not continually recoiling from one level of anxiety or another, but living with joy,” he said.

“As I formally open this amphitheatre I want to say, may its example flow out, may people discover the courage and the joy of being able to live together and be able to do so.”

The main designer and driver of the amphitheatre project, Mick Canny, concluded the speeches. He expressed his delight at the launch, said he hoped the amphitheatre would live up to the challenge of “reimagining” and thanked all those involved, in particular the philanthropic JVM Trench Trust, which has committed to supporting the project for the first three years of operation.

 

The amphitheatre is not yet finished, said Canny, and donations are always welcome.

 

View or download a PDF transcript of the presidents speech – click here

 

For further information please see

cloughjordanarts.ie

Cloughjordan Amphitheatre Project 2016 on Facebook

@clougharts


Cloughjordan Community Amphitheater

CA Board with President Michael Higgans  Mick Canney address at the Cloughjordan Amphitheatre Launch

Cloughjordan Community Amphitheatre

Opening of the new Cloughjordan Amphitheatre

The Cloughjordan Amphitheatre is a new multi-purpose performance space designed to stage a diverse range of cultural events from professional and community theatre and music to performance poetry, film screenings and educational workshops. The amphitheatre will be formally opened on June 21st by President Michael D Higgins.

Amphitheatre August 2016 3Amphitheatre August 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

The amphitheatre is being developed by Cloughjordan Arts and was conceived as a 1916 Centenary project.  The poet, dramatist and signatory to the Proclamation of Independence, Thomas MacDonagh (a native of Cloughjordan) will be honoured in an artwork to be installed at the site.  This space will allow us to carry on the work of cultural engagement and social empowerment that MacDonagh and his colleagues were engaged in – the reimagining of Ireland.

The facility itself is located within a large subsoil mound created during the excavation and construction phase of the Cloughjordan Ecovillage. Utilising this otherwise problematic mound of earth allows us to deliver a first-class venue for a modest investment and with minimal environmental impact. This ‘permaculture’ design methodology focuses on re-use and repurposing, on using local materials, and the skills of local craftspeople. Construction is well advanced. The major earth shaping and the installation of stage and seating tiers is now complete.

Initial funding was received from the 2016 Special Projects Office of the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Tipperary County Council, the JVM Trench Trust, and through local fundraising. Cloughjordan Arts are continuing to fundraise and need your help. Every donation, no matter how small, will help us to complete and fit-out the facility.

For full details see Cloughjordan Arts

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Cloughjordan Ecovillage identified as leading European project showing way to low-carbon future

MILESECURE-2050 project aims at understanding and overcoming the political, economical and behavioural traits and trends that led Europe to its difficulties in reducing fossil fuel consumption, and in diversifying its energy balance at rates which guarantee European energy security at the horizon 2050, reduce the threat of climate change, and diminish the risk of an energy gap in the coming decades The EU-funded academic consortium examined over 1,700 European low-energy projects. A total of 90 were identified in 19 countries, two of which were located in Ireland. Sustainable Clonakilty and Sustainable Projects Ireland’s Cloughjordan Ecovillage.

Of the 90 ‘anticipatory experiences’ initially identified, 23 were selected for a more detailed examination on the basis of criteria including the success of the project, ‘in terms of social recognition and excellent results from an energy and environmental point of view’. Among those selected was Cloughjordan Ecovillage, the only Irish project selected. One way of selecting the 23 most successful projects was through analysing tweeting about the 90 projects. These were analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. This shows Cloughjordan ecovillage to be in the top ten of the 90 European projects for the total number of tweets about it, the followers of those tweeting, the original content of the tweets, how positive they are, and the global reach of those tweeting and reading the tweets (see full details in documents 2.1 and 2.2 on www.milesecure2050.eu). Milesecure’s research identifies Cloughjordan Ecovillage as one of Europe’s leading ‘anticipatory experiences’ of the transition towards a low-carbon society with important lessons for EU policy.