ATHY became the second Kildare town after Newbridge last year to host Africa Day, which was held at the Arch Community Centre on Friday 17 May.
“You know the Arch? It’s really massive, and it was filled over. It was unbelievable,” said local organiser Frances Soney Ituen.
“The local reaction was amazing; there was a pride to be able to bring it to Athy. They were out in full force,” she added.
Africa Day is supported by Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs, and is aimed at helping cement stronger Irish-African links.
This year was hosted by 10 local authorities nationwide, including Kildare.
The day in Athy was the first of the 10 to be held this year, and was supported by Integration Strategy committee of Kildare Co Council, and the Kildare Integration Network.
“The Athy welcome was very warm,” said Frances.
“It was an opportunity for the town to showcase its warmth, its care, and its adventure ness,” she laughed.
This year’s Africa Day programme looked to embrace communities across the country through events ranging from African-themed film festivals, art exhibitions and seminars to football tournaments, school visits and a flag procession.
Street festivals and family fun days featuring live music with performances by African and Irish musicians, traditional African drumming, dance workshops and cultural performances.
Food, hair-braiding and traditional fashion designs from various African countries was also be showcased.
The Kildare Nationalist asked Frances if she’d like to see Africa Day return to Athy next year, but she explained it was a little out of her hands.
“I presume the post-festival committee meeting will look at the pros and cons, but we don’t know yet,” she offered, “but if they want to come back we’d love to host them. The Athy welcome was very warm,” she pointed out.