Remarks at a Garden Party for Amateur Dramatic Societies
Áras an Uachtaráin, 30th June 2015
Tugann sé an-áthas do Shaibhín agus dom féin fáilte a fhearach romhaibh go léir go dtí Áras an Uachtaráin tráthnóna. Tá súil againn go bhfuil sibh uilig ag baint taitneamh as bhur gcuairt ar an teach agus ar na gairdíní.
Sabina and I are delighted to welcome you all to Áras an Uachtaráin this afternoon. I hope you are all enjoying your visit to the house and gardens.
The garden party season is a special time of the year here in the Áras. It gives Sabina and me an opportunity to welcome you to the house and the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin.
Today’s Garden Party is a valuable opportunity to recognise, acclaim and welcome Amateur Dramatic Societies, who make such a valuable contribution to the cultural dimension of our society and our communities. Sabina, of course, has had a direct contact with the experience of Dramatic Societies and their productions, and has always greatly valued the joy and pleasure such societies bring to members of their communities.
In towns, villages and parishes across Ireland, local dramatic societies have, for very many years, been playing an important role in providing opportunities for citizens to discover, celebrate and extend their personal and collective talents.
Many Irish citizens owe their first experience of theatre and music to their local dramatic societies which continue to play such a dynamic role in the life of our communities. For many who have gone on to work in theatre, music, or the Arts in general, it was through their local or University dramatic society that they first discovered the joy of performing and the pleasure of sharing their gifts and talents with an appreciative audience.
Amateur Dramatic societies are striking examples of collective spirit and achievement, true democracies of skill and effort that respect the skills, talents and knowledge of all their members.
A really great production is achieved, not just through talent but with hard work and the good judgement that is brought to bear when every voice within a dramatic society is valued, and the society remains open to the opinion and experience of all those who wish to play their part; whether that be a speaking role on stage, or a directing role, or creating scenery and costumes or filling any of the myriad roles that make up a successful production.
Sabina and I congratulate all of you here today and through you we send our best wishes to all the Amateur Dramatic societies around the country which you represent, and our great appreciation for all that you contribute to both your communities and to the cultural life of this country. I wish you success as you continue your work in building a strong culture in the best sense, a culture rooted in the community, fostering creativity among our citizens and ensuring that people of all ages and social backgrounds have effective access to the life-enhancing elixir of music and drama.
Mar focail scóir, I would like to conclude by thanking all those who have worked so hard on behalf of the Áras to make this a wonderful occasion for you.
On your behalf and my own, I salute the hard work, unfailing good humour and – not least – culinary skills of the staff here in Áras an Uachtaráin, and may I say how grateful I am to Dee Rogers and his team for their technical skills that ensure our sound system works so well.
Our thanks to the assistance of the Civil Defence, our friends from St. John of Gods, and the Defence Forces.
Sabina and I hope you have a great afternoon. Enjoy the rest of your time here and thank you for coming.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.