MORE THAN 150 free events are taking place across Limerick city and county this week as part of the 2012 Lifelong Learning Festival.
The festival, which aims to promote and celebrate learning in all its forms, was launched this Monday in the Limerick City Gallery of Art and neighbouring People’ Park by RTÉ 2FM DJ Ruth Scott, who began her career in broadcasting as a student in the University of Limerick.
Organised by the Limerick City of Learning Steering Group, in collaboration with the Communications Office, County Council and County Limerick VEC, the festival began life last year and a key aspect of it is to promote Limerick as a location for personal, social and work-related learning and development. It is supported by this newspaper.
Among the many events taking place are activities ranging from magic shows and drumming workshops to boat-building events, radio broadcasting training and healthy cooking on a budget.
Speaking as she opened the week-long festival, Ms Scott said she was “delighted to be back in the city where the formative years of my lifelong learning experience began”.
“While undertaking my degree at the University of Limerick, it was in fact my extra-curricular learning through student radio that guided me to the career path I find myself on today. I can’t emphasise enough how great it can be to take on a new challenge, whether that’s through learning to surf, hiking or climbing a mountain. Learning can be so much fun,” she stressed.
Pat Dowling, chair of the steering group, explained that learning does not solely take place at school, college or university.
“We want to celebrate those already learning but also raise awareness of the huge amount of events that are taking place in Limerick where people can discover new skills, no matter what stage of life they are at,” he said.
“With more than 150 events to choose from across the city and county, all of which are free, there really is something for everyone to get involved in,” he added.
Copies of the festival programme are available on www.limerick.ie/lovelearning for each day of the festival, which runs until Sunday.
Other events taking place include classes on CV and interview skills, growing your own vegetables, a genealogy workshop, creative dance sessions and more.
Cllr Mary Jackman, chairman of County Limerick VEC, said there was a “great social aspect to this festival, bringing people together from all walks of life to further their skills and knowledge base”.