Drogheda steps up to host Spanish visitors

EurAV was called upon to host a one-day international workshop with representatives from two Spanish organisations who had never set foot in Ireland before. The challenge for Drogheda to showcase the country, and send the Spaniards away singing our praises, was on! And Drogheda stepped up in flying colours.

“There’s a lot of pressure to hold meetings in Dublin – especially when visitors only have one day to experience Ireland,” explained Declan Cassidy, executive director of EurAV, which has recently opened its offices and micro community TV studio in Drogheda, “but we’ve invested in Drogheda because we believe in it. And the community rallied to make the event a huge success.”

The day started with a meeting and workshop which was held in Brú Digital Hub on West Street.

“Our office training room is too small for a workshop that includes activities, but Brú Digital Hub has a fabulous space on the lower level,” explained Declan. “It was ideal. They provided teas, coffees and all the facilities we needed.”

The teas and coffees made way for something stronger, however, at lunchtime.

“Drogheda Chamber of Commerce had been hugely helpful when we were preparing for the Spanish visit,” explained Declan, “and they had put us in touch with The Punt pub on Fair Street who went out of their way to help us. The food was super, but the real highlight for our Spaniards was when Philip, behind the bar, taught them how to pour their own pint of Guinness.”

EurAV’s challenge, then, was to show the visitors around Drogheda in the few hours they had left, and, again, the local network came to the rescue.

“Nichola Kelly of Scotch Hall had put me in touch with Trevor Connolly of Love Drogheda and he, in turn, put me in touch with Anthony Murphy,” said Declan. “He’s the local historian involved in the famous murals around the town, and he took our visitors around them, explaining about the myths and histories, as well as a fascinating connection between Irish and Spanish mythology. They were thrilled.”

The Spaniards were from Federación Garcia Esteban, a music organisation, and Gestación Estratégica e Innovación, a social development organisation – both based in Zaragoza – and they were in Ireland to trial a workshop aimed at helping teachers and trainers to overcome language barriers in the classroom through music. The project, ‘Music Link’, is funded by the EU under the Erasmus Plus programme and is one of five projects that EurAV is involved in.

“Every EU project that we’re partners in is likely to have a meeting in Ireland,” said Declan, “and after the success of this event, we’ll be aiming to ensure that we hold them in Drogheda. It’s our first event since moving into our offices and it’s left us feeling very supported by the community here. Drogheda has such a lot to be proud of.”

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