A FANTASTIC afternoon was had in Athy Library for ‘Signs of the World’, part of Kildare’s Criunniú na Og day.
Athy Sing and Sign noted a special thanks to everyone for coming, including Senator Mark Wall, Mayor Ivan Keatley, Aoife Breslin, Veralouise Behan, Elish Langton (Creative Places Athy) and Patricia Berry – and special thanks to Senator Fiona O’Loughlin for launching the event.
They were very proud of their members who opened the event with a brilliant performance of Ireland’s Call, which was conducted by Linda Dobbyn.
They are very proud of this project and are especially proud that ‘Signs of the World’ is a collaboration of deaf students in Holy Family School for the Deaf (in Cabra) and members from Athy Sing and Sign Club.
They have created over 100 signs of different countries in Irish Sign Language (ISL). This is available in Irish, English and ISL. Not only was this a fun project to be a part of, it is also a very valuable resource that will be used by everyone in the deaf community – teachers, students, parents, educators, professionals working in the community, interpreters and so on. They are delighted with the response from the deaf community and were even asked to give a presentation on ‘Signs of the World’ at the World Federation of the Deaf in South Korea in 2023!
Everyone had great fun on the day. Each person was given a passport when they arrived and inside each passport was a different country. Each person learned the sign for that country and a fun fact.
Here’s an example of a fun fact for Australia – wombats are short-legged, muscular quadrupedal marsupials that are native to that country. The wombat deposits square poos! This prompted lots of giggles at the event.
It was also a great icebreaker for deaf and hearing people at the event asking each other what country they had and what fun fact. They then check out athysingandsign.com/countries to learn how to sign that sign.
Everyone coloured in their country on a black and white colouring map and created a painted rock with the flag of that country. It was wonderful to see all the colourful rocks of the different countries. You can check out the amazing signs of the countries on Athy Sing and Sign website.
The brilliant aminations were done by Shauna Hathaway Farrell, a past pupil of Holy Family School for the Deaf and once a student of Maggie Owens from Athy Sing and Sign! Maggie commented that “Shauna was always so creative in school, I am not surprised that she went to college to do animation. She is so talented and creative and we are delighted to have her as part of our team.”
The filming and editing was done by the brilliant Mikey Aldridge and the graphic design and website design by the talented Brendan O’Rourke. Brendan is currently working on a book to complement the ‘Signs of the World’.
Special thanks goes to ISL consultant Sean Herlihy and assistant Jason Maguire. Thanks also to everyone who helped to make the day a brilliant, successful day, all the representatives from the Centre of Deaf Studies, David Somers from Irish Deaf Society, Helen Newman and Susan O’Reilly and students from Holy Family School for the Deaf, to all the Athy Sing and Sign members and everyone who came to the event, Peadar Doogue for taking photos, Jason Maguire for filming the colouring in of the map, and to Athy Library for allowing them to host the event there – they were delighted to have it in this gorgeous building.
Maggie also noted that all of this could not be possible without the support of the fantastic committee – Linda Dobbyn, Breda Moore Flynn, Mary Byrne and Majella Conlan Harris.