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HM Queen Invites KWC to her Hillsborough Castle Reading Rooms Event

Kilcooley Women’s Centre were privileged to be invited to attend a prestigious event at Hillsborough Castle, hosted by none other than HM Queen Camilla herself. The event, held in the Throne Room, was a celebration of World Poetry Day and brought together leading actors, poets, and literary figures from across Northern Ireland. Kilcooley Women’s Centre’s involvement in the royally endorsed celebration is a testament to its commitment to promoting literacy and the love of reading within the community.

Also attending the event was the First and Deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill and Emma Little Pengelly.  

A Literary Extravaganza: Hosted by renowned poet Paul Muldoon, the event was a showcase of spoken word performances celebrating poetry and literature in all our native languages and dialects, including English, Gaelic/Irish, and Ulster Scots. Attendees were treated to readings by acclaimed actress Frances Tomelty and Ian McElhinney, of Game of Thrones and Derry Girls fame, who captivated the audience with their interpretations of works by Seamus Heaney, Louis MacNiece, and John Hewitt.

Special Guests and Poignant Readings: The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the presence of renowned poet Michael Longley, who read his poignant poem ‘Ceasefire.’ The event also featured contemporary poetry readings by Sinead Morrissey, featuring her emotional poem on the Titanic, and Jamaican poet Raquel McKee, who brought the evening to a captivating close.

Recognition and Appreciation: Alison Blayney, CEO of Kilcooley Women’s Centre, and Sarah Collyer, Head of Learning and Development, were honoured to be included in the welcome lineup that greeted HM Queen Camilla at the close of the event. The invitation to the centre, symbolised KWCs dedication to promoting literacy and nurturing a love of reading within the community over three decades.

Celebrating Community and Culture: The event served as a reminder of the power of poetry and literature to unite communities and celebrate our diverse cultural heritage. It was a testament to the rich literary tradition of Northern Ireland and the importance of preserving and promoting it for future generations.

Looking Ahead: As Kilcooley Women’s Centre reflected on this momentous occasion, the centre team remains committed to the mission of promoting literacy, encouraging creativity, and enriching the lives of individuals within the community. The invitation to HM Queen Camilla’s Queens Reading Room event was a true honor and a testament to the KWC’s  contributions to the cultural landscape of Northern Ireland.

Conclusion: Kilcooley Women’s Centre is proud to have been part of this literary  event and looks forward to continuing its efforts to promote literacy and the love of reading within the community. As we celebrate this achievement, we remain committed to supporting a culture of learning, creativity, and appreciation for literature that enriches the lives of all those we support.

Stay tuned for more updates and exciting initiatives from Kilcooley Women’s Centre as we continue to celebrate the beauty and power of words!