Life

West Cork’s Feel Good Festival marks 10th anniversary with diverse line-up

October 6th, 2022 5:45 PM

By Emma Connolly

Nuala Kenny and Kevin O’Shanahan of the West Cork Feel Good Festival. ‘Bringing mental health into the community is in everyone’s interest,’ says Nuala. (Photo: Colm Rooney)

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THE West Cork Feel Good Festival is back for its 10th year with diverse events taking place in Skibbereen, Ballydehob, Bantry, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, and Leap. 

The festival, underway until October 19th, is an initiative led by 49 North Street in Skibbereen, which is a creative mental health hub that offers a space for creativity, recovery, and well-being. Its weekly programme includes a range of activities designed to inspire and connect people.  

At the heart of the festival are community-based groups with a focus on listening, creativity, food, nutrition, mindfulness, the Irish language, music and art. 

This year’s programme highlights the growing number of ‘peer support’ groups in the area including Bantry, Clonakilty, Skibbereen and also (soon) in Dunmanway. 

‘The Bantry peer support group will be in Bridge Street. This space is for everyone. People can just be, have a cup of tea/coffee (‘a bru to get you tru’), make connections and/or attend organised, facilitated peer group meetings where they are understood and heard,’ said Nuala Kenny who has, for the past five years, been envisioning this space in the community while working as a peer support worker in the Bantry mental health services. 

‘Bringing mental health into the community is in everyone’s interest. Some of the activities that are introduced during the festival will continue once the space is open fully,’ she said.

Kevin O’Shanahan, manager at 49 North Street added: ‘The Covid pandemic highlighted the important role the arts play in our daily lives and for our mental well-being – making the difficult days a little easier, helping us listen to each other or celebrate together in challenging times.’

Three Fite Fuaite events are woven into the festival, featuring spiritual singer Nóirín Ní Riain, singer/song-writer Ger Wolfe, and dual-language poets Julie Goo and Pól Ó Colmáin. Following the festival, there will be Fite Fuaite meetings around an informal Irish language group at 49, North Street on the last Thursday of every month from 27th October onward.

A festival highlight will take place at Myross Woods. That’s the premiere of director Aoise Tutty Jackson’s new film ‘Anua’, made in collaboration with Gamelan Spréacha Geala, Music Alive, Cork County Council and Maggie Ryan of Escapepod Media. 

It’s narrated by Manchán Magan with a soundtrack by Kevin McNally and Kevin O’Shanahan and it’s an experimental film and sonic journey that explores our relationship with the land, language, sound and mythology. 

The festival has again partnered with Levis Corner House in Ballydehob, for a weekend of music and food, including an event with Rob Krawczyk, the Chestnut Restaurant on October 9th, and a concert by Luka Bloom on October 7th. All events are free, except for the evening performances at Levis. See leviscornerhouse.com. 

Some free events/workshops need to be booked also. 

See musicalive.ie for more details and for the full festival schedule. 

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