Learning Festival returns to Limerick for the first week of April and promises to be the biggest yet!

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Pictured at the launch of the 2017 Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival were, St. Sennans National School pupils, Matthew Murphy Curtin, Ross Donovan and Tommy Flynn. Picture: Alan Place

For a 7th consecutive year, Limerick’s Lifelong Learning Festival makes an exciting return to the city and county over the first week of April. With over 250 events and activities to entertain and engage people of all ages, this year’s festival promises to be the biggest yet.

The 2017 Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival takes place from Saturday 1st to Friday 7th April and was launched today (Monday) in the Foynes Flying Boat Museum by Deputy Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr Noel Gleeson; accompanied by the Chairperson of Learning Limerick, Josephine Cotter-Coughlan and Director of Foynes Flying Boat Museum, Margaret O’Shaughnessy.

Organised by Learning Limerick steering group, representing the main stakeholders involved in promoting learning across Limerick City and County, this year’s Festival theme is ‘Communities, Connecting, Learning’.

Speaking at the launch, the Chair of Learning Limerick, Josephine Cotter-Coughlan, said: “This year’s festival promises to be one of the greatest – with an activity for everyone it’ll be hard to miss! The festival is all about promoting learning; whether it’s to do with art, IT, sports or science. Indeed the festival theme this year provides us all with an opportunity to learn something new from others and make positive changes in our lives, and the lives of those around us.”

All events throughout the week are free of charge, available for everyone.

Events include ‘Building Confidence in Digital Skills’, ‘Women on Wheels’ and ‘Family Physical Activity in the Park’ to guided tours and exhibitions and workshops like ‘800 years of Fashion’, a workshop offered by the Hunt Museum and genealogy.

Learning Limerick joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities last year, which is an international policy-oriented network providing inspiration, know-how and best practice. We are delighted to announce that we are among the 16 UNESCO Learning City Awardees 2017.

Limerick will officially be conferred with this award at the third International Conference on Learning Cities which will be held in Cork from 18-20th of September.

Another innovative development for Learning Limerick this year is the partnering with the All Aboard 2017 National Festival 3rd – 7th April to promote their Digital Skills events in Limerick.

This initiative involves a series of events being co-run by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and by the third level and further education and training (FET) colleges. This festival links very well with the Lifelong Learning Festival as All Aboard events aim to build confidence in Ireland’s digital skills for learning.

To open the festival week, a showcase for all the family to enjoy will take place in Mary Immaculate College on Saturday 1st April.

The free event will offer a snapshot of what the festival programme will offer. The showcase will feature a series of interactive events, activities, performances and workshops spanning across all areas of learning.

These include a variety of subjects, such as Laughter Yoga, Genealogy Workshops, Playground science, Technology Showcases, Community Drama and a Treasure Hunt Event around the city centre and ending at the Mary Immaculate College Showcase.

Speaking at today’s launch, Deputy Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Noel Gleeson said: "The Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival is always a very important event but this year it's even more special following UNESCO granting Limerick a Learning City Award in January. The range of events taking place means there is something for everyone to do over the week-long festival. I would encourage anyone with an interest in learning to check out the festival and attend some of the events."

Margaret O’Shaughnessy, Director of Foynes Flying Boat Museum, speaking at the launch said: “We’re delighted to facilitate the launch of the Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival as museums are a great environment for learning. We would like to wish everyone participating in this event the very best as Life Long Learning is something we should all advocate.”

Free copies of the 2017 Festival Programme are now available throughout Limerick and on www.limerick.ie/lovelearning, with daily updates also on Facebook ‘Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival’ and Twitter @LimkLearnFest

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