Big talent on show at Fingal intercultural day
2016-12-15 14:05:29 -
Mulhuddart Community Centre came alive recently with a fusion of music and dance performed by a talented multinational community at the Fingal Ethnic Network’s (Fen) intercultural day. 

Fen promotes awareness of issues relevant to the ethnic population in north and west Co Dublin, and this celebration of diversity revealed the rich cultural backgrounds of all who live in Fingal.

Japan, India, Nigeria and Slovakia were among those countries most strongly represented on the day, through a variety of costumes, performance and more besides.

Fingal Mayor Darragh Butler was among those in attendance, and was thrilled to have a temporary tattoo of a shamrock inscribed on his palm by an Indian hand painter. 

“Today is special day to see all community groups not only from Fingal county but also from other counties coming together to celebrate the Intercultural Day,” said Cllr Butler.

His comments were echoed by Fen chair Kesava Gollapalli, who told the audience that the network’s objective is to bring all of Fingal’s nationalities “under one platform and promote cultures, traditions and showcase the talent that we have.”

Talent was indeed the order of the day. Traditional dance fused with singing and flute is the hallmark of the Slovak Folklore Ensemble Ostroha, established in 2007 by Slovaks living in Ireland. Elsewhere, Indian performances by children and young people encompassed Bollywood dance tracks; a classical song from around 200 years ago by Thyagaraja Keerthana, a famous composer of Carnatic music; and a classical dance traditionally performed in Hindu temples until the 20th century — where the footwork and body language entwined with the music, the vocalist’s tones and the majestic costumes to showcase the strength and sweetness of Indian culture, as well as invoke happiness, divine blessings and peace of mind.

Japanese immigrants in Ireland have taken up the mantle of traditional Irish music, as shown by a special tin whistle performance of ‘Return from Fingal’ a folk tune about the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

Rie Muryama, who brought along some of her students to play the tune, fell in love with traditional Irish music after moving here to study, and even became a Fleadh Ceoil winner on the tin whistle. Now she passes on her passion for Irish music to others, immigrants and native Irish alike, giving free tin whistle lessons - alongside helping to organise Bray’s Asian-Irish Cultural Festival with Susan Jackson.

Rounding out the evening were Ekiti Parapo, a Yoruba socio-cultural group from Nigeria devoted to the uplifting, prosperity and greatness of the Ekiti people at home and in the diaspora, danced to a traditional tune from their homeland using the irukere, a feathered baton-like stick used for dancing, greeting and blessing people. 

President of the group, Ayo Familonu, interpreted their song as a prayer to God not to depart from anyone’s side. 
Fen’s intercultural day was supported by Fingal County Council, Ireland Telegu Association, New Communities Partnership, Echoes International, Rekindle Talents, Children 4 World Children, Slovak Centre Ireland and Romanian Community Ireland. 
Hanumantha Rao Marepalli, the network’s cultural development officer, said Fen wants to arrange further cultural events “to flourish native cultures to make individuals feels proud of their traditions”.

- If you’re an immigrant anywhere in the world and have a story to share, whether on your own behalf or on behalf of someone else, please email

Princess Pamela Toyin is a journalist and author with over 25 years’ experience in various roles, including as an executive PA to company directors, as a public relations executive, reporter, editor and publisher, research consultant and workshop facilitator.
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