SCHOOLCHILDREN in the Dungannon District have been given the chance to develop their poetic voice with one of Northern Ireland’s most famous storytellers and poets.
Liz Weir, who specializes in folk tales and traditional stories, began a week-long residency at Dungannon’s Ranfurly Arts Centre on Monday past.
The popular performer explored the myths and legends of the town’s Hill of the O’Neill with local schoolchildren in a series of twice daily one hour creating writing workshops.
Liz was effusive in her praise for the enthusiasm of local pupils and the richness of their imaginations.
One of the most creative classes was the P6 boys and girls from St Mary’s Cabra, who impressed Liz and Peter Lant, the councils’ education officer, with their wide vocabulary, their rich imaginations and their high level of participation in the workshop.
“Tyrone has always been known as a place full of stories”, said Liz. “It has a very strong oral tradition and I’ve seen that all week. The children of Dungannon District have imagination and story-telling ability in heaps.
“History is made up of a series of stories and we are more aware today of the history that lies beneath us.
“Some of the children who attended the workshop today are O’Neills so it is great to instil in them a sense of pride in their heritage, and in a way allow local children to reclaim their history.
“We have been working on stories about Hugh O’Neill and his son Con, and I’ve been encouraging the children to look around them at the exhibitions, use their senses, and come up with the strongest words to make their poems as powerful as possible.”
The poems produced in the workshops will be kept and displayed at the Ranfurly Arts Centre,