David Cooney was formerly the Ambassador to both the Holy See and UK

Dear friends,

It is a pleasure and a privilege to take up the role of Ambassador of Ireland here in Spain. I look forward to presenting my credentials to His Majesty King Felipe VI in the coming weeks and to exploring the range and depth of Ireland’s strong and varied ties with this fascinating and important country.

In many ways, Ireland and Spain enjoy a particularly unique and special relationship, stretching from the very earliest prehistoric migrations to Ireland from Spain’s northern coast, up to the vibrant and contemporary ties of the present day. Indeed, there has long been a steady flow of Irish visitors to Spanish shores, from the early pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, through to the Flight of the Earls in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Today, the friendship between the peoples of Ireland and Spain is warmer than ever, with Irish people making some 1.3 million visits to Spain each year. Our trade links also continue to grow and is now valued at over €7 billion, making this country Ireland’s sixth largest export market.

Ireland also welcomes many Spanish visitors, including thousands of English-language students who add to the brightness of the Irish summer.

Our two countries have also benefitted enormously from our common membership of the European Union and will continue to work together and with our fellow Member States to ensure a sustainable economic recovery in both countries and in the Union as a whole.

While promoting political and economic relations is a key priority for us, we are always conscious that the links that bind us consist of much more than this. The Embassy will therefore continue to develop an exciting programme of events to celebrate Irish and Spanish cultural links.

There are a host of interesting activities of Irish interest taking place over the coming months, details of some of which are set out below:

The 11th annual Cáceres Irish Fleadh will take place this year from 31 October – 2 November. The excellent line-up for this year includes Fullset, Matt & Jackie, Sheela Ní Gig and Böj.

As many of you will know, John Banville has won the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, which he will be presented with on Friday 24 October in Oviedo. We look forward to welcoming John back to Spain, a country with which he has strong ties.

Irish actor and playwright, Denis Rafter, will be performing his new one-man show on Oscar Wilde at the Teatro Español in Madrid from 27 November to 7 December. The show is entitled Beloved Sinner and deals with the last days of Wilde’s life before his death in 1900.

Madrid’s Bloomsday Society are seeking Joyce enthusiasts to attend and participate in readings on the third Thursday of every month from 7.00 – 9.00 pm at the Circulo Catalán de Madrid, Plaza de España 6. They are particularly keen to find members of the Irish community willing to read in English. The first reading will take place on Thursday, 30 October.

Joyce aficionados in Barcelona will also have an opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of “Dubliners” at a special event at La Casa de la Paraula this November. Plans include dramatised readings and music – more information to follow!

Celebrated Irish poet and writer John Liddy’s new book The Secret Heart of Things, will be launched in Madrid on October 20. More information on this event will follow.

We are delighted to inform you of the upcoming presentation of John Ford en Inishfree. La homérica historia de ‘El hombre tranquilo’ 1933-1952 by Arturo Seguro Fernandez, due to take place in October in Madrid. Again, further information will follow in relation to this event.

Finally, the Alcine short film festival in Alcala de Henares is set to feature several Irish films this year. The festival takes place from 7 – 14 November.

I look forward to meeting you at one of these occasions in the future.

More generally, I am very keen to keep in touch with the Irish community in Spain and with friends of Ireland in Spain – if you would like to be added to our Embassy mailing list for news of events and initiatives, please contact us.

I look forward to continuing to work with you closely, and we warmly welcome your input and feedback on our work.

Warm regards, le gach dea-ghui!

David Cooney

Ambassador of Ireland

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/45110/

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