The Bluebell Festival

A number of community organisations in the Upper Springfield came together to organise a ground-breaking new health and well-being festival. Glór na Móna, Upper Springfield Youth Team, Newhill Youth Club and the Frank Cahill Resource Centre have collaborated to produce a packed programme of events. Féile na gCloigíní Gorma is a people’s celebration of community, health and the local environment. Each year from the month of May the field above the famous Black Mountain ‘Hatchet Field’ blooms and chimes with the glorious site of a sea of indigenous wild ‘Blue Bells’

Féile na gCloigíní Gorma intends to challenge, inspire and involve as many local people as possible in order to foster a culture of self-help, solidarity and collaboration. We want to create spaces for local people to engage with and reflect on their health, environment and the world around us while enjoying the company of others.

The modern world has become characterised by competition, individualism, inequality, crass materialism and mental ill-health. In our areas, the poverty and exclusion deriving by an unjust economic system are further exacerbated by the legacy of the conflict which has created a mental health epidemic in our areas. The events in this féile aim to challenge this by providing people with a safe platform to explore our historical and spiritual connections with our environment and community as well as our inherent humanity.

Healthy hearts create healthy minds and hope springs eternal when we recognise our human potential as agents for social change. The organisers of this festival believe that within the Upper Springfield local people hold the key to building another world and we are building it now.

For generations of local people from the Upper Springfield, the Blue Bells have effectively signalled the beginning of summer, and the hope this entails for local children and families. We are using the symbol of the blooming Blue Bells to remind local people of the joys of life, their natural environment and the importance of health and community solidarity.

The week-long series of events lasted from the Sunday the 21 May until Sunday the 28 May and included: walks, talks, sports, cycling, fishing and more. The programme will kick off by local Gaels competing in a 7 a side Gaelic football tournament and will close a week later with the return of the famous Caulfield’s to Black Mountain run and walk. In between this there will be free events on every day, some of the highlights include the premier screening of the award winning Hillsborough documentary which will be followed by a question and answers session with the independent panel report’s primary author Professor Phil Scraton. Thanks to all those who came along to our Black Panther inspired breakfast clubs, complete a lap of Belfast on your bike, run the Black Mountain, and walk in the Falls Park. People of all ages came out of their homes, break the sense of isolation, take a breath of fresh air in nature and take part in this fantastic series of events.

Planning for Féile na gCloigíní Gorma 2018 has started and information will be available shortly.

Programme – Féile na gCloigíní Gorma 2017