Cork Youth reflects on ‘Anseo’

Cork based Sloane Quirke at hidden gem of a walk near her house. "A great place to go when I want inspiration"
My name is Sloane, I’m 18 years old, living in Cork and a member of Activate Youth Theatre. I’m also an avid reader and will jump on any opportunity to read some new books, especially by writers I’ve never heard of, or Irish writers.
I worked on the ‘Passports’ project through West Cork Music for two weeks. Working with Graffiti Theatre (Cork) and Good Day Cork I was able to meet some wonderful artists and experience their work.
I read poems by Felispeaks and books by Roddy Doyle and Una-Minh Kavanagh. It was amazing to learn about other people’s experiences with their nationalities and cultures.
I think the piece that stuck with me most was Anseo by Una-Minh Kavanagh. I would recommend any Irish person read it, the book made me really think about what it means to be Irish.
Photo by Sloane Quirke: "I love the sea. There's nothing more refreshing than a swim in the freezing ocean"
Sloane Quirke's photo of a wall at The Burren Perfumery for Good Day Cork
Photo by Sloane Quirke: "A wall at The Burren Perfumery in Clare. It's a very secluded spot and I feel like the rest of the world is a million miles away"
Una-Minh wrote about her life and her connection to the Irish language. Before reading this book I only ever thought of Irish as a subject I did in school, and honestly not one I remember anything from past primary school.
After reading Anseo though, I’ve decided that I really want to try and pick it up again. Reading about how Una-Minh grew up speaking Irish with her grandfather made me actually think about how beautiful the Irish language is, and how important it is in our history.
I honestly don’t have the words to describe how this book made me feel, so I will say, please read it.
Even if you don’t like non-fiction (which I usually don’t) please read Anseo by Una-Minh Kavanagh. It will make you think about the Irish language and culture in possibly more ways than you already do.
On the last day of the project I got to attend a Zoom interview with Una-Minh Kavannagh. She was extremely friendly and the interview felt very natural and like a conversation.
It felt very special hearing her speak  to us after reading her book that had inspired me.
I am so grateful to have been able to participate in this project and I really hope that it happens again so other people can have the same great experience that I did!
Sloane Quirkke's photo woods for Good Day Cork
Photo by Sloane Quirke: "Ireland has a certain magic that makes me feel like this stump could be the castle of a fairy queen."
Photo by Sloane Quirke: "Another spot near where I live. It's in the middle of town but walking here you really wouldn't think so."
Sloane Quirke Good Day Cork
Sloane Quirke member of Activate Youth Theatre at Graffiti Theatre (Cork)
About Sloane Quirke:
Sloane shares: “I’ve been a member of Activate Youth Theatre since 2016. Since then I’ve made so many amazing friends and even decided that I want to persue a career in theatre! I love animated movies and playing games with my friends. My favourite thing to do on a rainy day is make a lot of tea, sit by the window and read a book. I want to do whatever I can to make the world a better place, even if it’s just a little better for one person.”
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