A local Irish priest who organised the recent International Celtic Festival has decided to make the event a regular feature on Benalmádena's cultural agenda. Father Gerald Daly has been conducting a weekly English-language mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Arroyo de la Miel since 2014, and he has since played an active role during the town's St Patrick's Day and Burn's Night celebrations.
The new, three-day Celtic festival will coincide with the feast of St Patrick and will include an English-language mass, a pageant dedicated to the history of St Patrick, educational activities and a Celtic music gala night performed by musicians and dancers from Northern Ireland and Spain, along with local Irish, Scottish and Welsh performers.
"We held our first International Celtic Festival earlier this year and it was very successful. We are reaching out to the Celtic communities by highlighting traditional music and dance, while emphasising the religious side of the Celtic tradition," the Catholic priest explained to SUR in English.
Father Daly arranged for several young musicians and dancers from Northern Ireland to come to the Costa del Sol to perform at the first edition of the festival and he intends to bring even more children from Ireland to participate next year. He hopes that the trip will act as an educational journey to help youngsters to integrate and learn about the longstanding history of the Celts.
"The idea came about because I thought we were not bringing out our traditional Irish culture. We have a wonderful history and we want to bring this to the fore. We are aiming to help children mix better in Northern Ireland. We have had many problems there and this has sometimes overshadowed our true identity: this is an opportunity to help them understand their own culture and traditions," he declared.
The popular clergyman also intends to use the festival to bring the Andalusian and Irish cultures together and he already has plans to invite Celtic musicians from the Basque Country to perform at next year's show.
"We hope to make next year's festival even more interesting as this will bring out the whole culture of St Patrick, who worked with the Celts in Scotland, Ireland, and all over Europe, where there were many Celtic tribes. There is a large Irish population here on the Costa del Sol, but our festival is open to all the different nationalities. We have attracted Welsh, English, Irish and Scottish nationals, and from that point of view, it has been very important to bring together people from Benalmádena and beyond," he declared.
In order to fund the next edition of the festival, a series of events has been organised, the first of which will take place in the Immaculate Conception Church in Arroyo de la Miel on Saturday 1 June (tomorrow).
Local amateur-theatre group A Touch of Class will perform a new show called 'All Aboard', which is set on a cruise liner: the production will include comedy, music and dance and a variety of amusing sketches based around the antics of the Donald Trump type character acting as the captain.
Tickets for the show, which starts at 7.30pm, cost 10 euros and are available from email@example.com or at the door on the night of the show.