EventsFestivalsParticipatory Democracy

Belfast Mayor, Cllr Tina Black launches ‘Festival of Beauty’ Féile na gCloigíní Gorma in the shadow of the Black Mountain

Comprehensive programme focusing on community, solidarity and well-being is ‘a morale booster, a co-operative effort’

Féile na gCloigíní Gorma 2023, named after the indigenous bluebells that bloom each May on the black mountain, was officially kickstarted today by Belfast Mayor Cllr Tina Black at Glór na Móna’s Gael-Ionad Mhic Goill. The festival, which is in its seventh year, is a result of a longstanding, collaborative relationship between a range of local community organisations in Upper Springfield.

Speaking at the launch, Mayor Black Said:

“I am always delighted to be invited out to this wonderful community and never more so than to launch this amazing festival. This is a festival which cherishes a love for our natural environment and promotes the best of local talent through our musicians, poets, community and youth workers among many others. It is a festival of beauty that also provides contemporary learning through some excellent speakers and events. I’ve never seen any community that produces such a volume of young leaders like the activists in Upper Springfield. There is a determination to campaign for rights, to protect and enhance our beautiful hills, and to provide our community with inspiration and hope.

‘This is a real proud community which has led the way on protecting the environment, I’m thinking of Terry Enright and the pioneering work he done to protect our glorious hills. You care for each other and the natural environment here and I will be forever inspired by your imagination and activism.”

Speaking on behalf of Glór na Móna, festival organiser Eoghan Ó Garmaile said:

Decolonisation is at the heart of Féile na gCloigíní Gorma. This has been the case for local festivals since the 1970s when colonial oppression in these areas bred resistance in many forms, festivals being one of them. And this was the case with Féile an Phobail in the late 80s after our community was demonised as savage animals and worse or what anti-colonial writer Frantz Fanon described as the colonial vocabulary. It is fitting therefore that this year’s Féile will conclude next Saturday 20th May with a parade down Whiterock Road in ómós to the 1973 Upper Springfield Festival 50 years ago organised by Des Wilson and other community pioneers.

The Féile na gCloigíní Gorma organising committee are all united by our determination to build a sense of community within the Upper Springfield, a commitment that has now been made more relevant than ever by the collective trauma and loss we have all experienced over the last two years. This year we have produced a fantastic programme of events that will provide excellent opportunities to connect with their local community.

The 1973 Upper Springfield Festival foreword still to this day tells us what the Féile is all about: ‘A festival is a very happy event. At times, many of us thought we would never be able to celebrate again […] but people share most in times of trouble […] the festival is a morale booster, a co-operative effort. Those who are together for this festival will stay together for much more to come”

We are absolutely thrilled with the big news that the brilliant and world renowned Damien Dempsey will headline our annual Féile na gCloigíní Gorma concert on Thursday 18th for the first concert in the newly built and state of the art St Comgalls building. Damo will be supported by the best local musicians including Breandan ‘Nipper’ Quinn, John McSherry and Francis McElduff, Niamh Nic Ionnrachtaigh, Run For Cover and Brian Hicks.

We will also organise the usual eclectic mix of fun events with a special focus on bringing our young people out in nature which will include; Family treasure hunts; sunset walks, sunrise sea swims and yoga; outdoor workshops with Connected Adventure; bingo nights; community film club; family fishing trips; planting, sowing and foraging with Gáirdín an Phobail.

On behalf of the organising committee, we would like to welcome everyone to join us in building and celebrating a sense of community, solidarity, celebration and well-being.


A Full copy of the programme is available:


Le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais / For more information:

Arlene Blaney


Eoghan Ó Garmaile


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