Lantern festivals are popular the world over – from Hong Kong to Banjul to the Rhineland – and now they’ve seen the light in West Limerick! Askeaton’s ‘Féile Laindéir’  brought the River Deel to life in ways never before seen.

– with photos by Deralee Collins

– a #SicapStory about light, community and art

  • Thanks to development worker Damien Ahern for this report and also to local volunteer Deralee Collins for sharing her photographs:

    • Author: Damien Ahern of West Limerick Resources.

Askeaton came alive for ‘Féile Laindéir’ where brightly-coloured, uniquely-designed, environmentally-friendly Willow Lanterns were paraded up the River Deel and along it’s riverbank.

The spectacle resulted from a lantern making programme run over five weeks in Askeaton Community Centre. The theme for this year’s festival was ‘Lights on the River Deel’ which was individually interpreted by each participant. While it was held on a Friday night in October, the ripple effects from the project continue to resonate locally.

The Deel Art Group facilitated the lantern programme, with advice and guidance from illustrator and designer Rachael Grainger, supported by West Limerick Resources through the national SICAP* programme.

The Deel Art Group have earned a reputation, having led many community arts projects in the town – including a ‘Paint a Rock’ project, the recent ‘Arts of the Quay’ project and their famous Christmas Window Display.

Anita Guinane is the group’s chairperson. She said, “It was a hugely positive evening for the town, where a large crowd gathered to admire the lanterns, and to follow the parade up the river. As a new addition to this year’s festival, music was projected over a speaker, adding to the drama and spectacle of the evening. I am very proud of our members who delivered the programme and of the participants who amazed us with their talents.”

The Desmond Rowing Club, Askeaton-Ballysteen Ladies Gaelic Football Club and Askeaton-Ballysteen Community Council volunteered their services for the evening, ensuring a broad representation from the community – all working together for the enjoyment of the town.

Limerick Youth Service and Foróige members also took part in the festival. They provided materials and ran a workshop through West Limerick Resources, with SICAP support.

“The Deel Art Group is just one example of a number of community groups supported by the SICAP programme in West Limerick,” said Adrienne O’Connell, SICAP education and training co-ordinator.

“In building the art group’s capacity, it allows them to become a strategic player in delivering positive community development initiatives, while creating a creative space where individuals can come together and share skills and talents and form new friendships. In fact, the Deel Art Group has three new members as a result of this project and the very best of luck to them,” she said.

** SICAP stands for the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme.