Good Friday Agreement 20th Anniversary Marked in London and Belfast
By Mary Gallagher, Editorial Assistant
June / July 2018
A night of creative expression recalling the Troubles in Northern Ireland, sponsored by the Irish government in tandem with Poetry Ireland, was exhibited at both the Lyric Theatre in Belfast and the Barbican Centre in London in April in honor of the Good Friday Agreement’s 20-year anniversary. The program, called “A Further Shore,” focused on the necessity of keeping the spirit of goodwill with which the peace agreement was written.
The exhibition boasted high-profile participants, showcasing performances by Atifete Jahjaga, Kosovo’s first female president, along with Irish actors Adrian Dunbar, Ciarán Hinds, Maria Doyle Kennedy, and Tara Lynne O’Neill. Readings of Irish poetry on the subject dominated the program, including works by Seamus Heaney, Gráinne Tobin, and John Hewitt, and moving musical performances by the Telegraph band and fiddler Ciarán Tourish.
Irish Tánaiste Simon Coveney remarked on the overwhelming spirit of the gathering, calling the performances “powerful, funny, tragic, and evocative,” and further averring that they “reflected on our shared journey towards this extraordinary short.” Prominent Irish newscaster Olivia O’Leary, who acted as the master of ceremonies, tied the event together with her succinct but effective statement: “The language of peace is difficult and it’s taking us – all of us – a long time to learn it.” ♦