Opening day - Monday 7th September, 7pm

Hi there,

So, last Monday 7th of September we finally opened our doors. Due to Covid 19 we were not able to host an open door event, but we did have 14 very special visitors and lots of delicious churros from the generous John from Churriosity in Dungarvan.

I was delighted to finally show to others what the premises look like after 3 weeks of renovations, painting and cleaning (and building walls!). Being honest it has all been harder than I thought but on the plus side, there has been an unexpected round of support by local shops and organisations as well as by friends and family. Also, I know the Live Facebook was a total disaster, the sound was entirely off (apologies!). Learning as we progress here.

The event kicked off at around 7:05pm, with Councillor Conor D. McGuinness saying a few words both in English and Spanish about the importance of studying languages and about the crucial place of Spanish speakers in the world - between 480 and 577 million (including second language speakers) globally, making Spanish the second most spoken language in terms of native speakers! Following this, I proceded to cut the golden ribbon that would mark the official launch of Spaniology. Guests were then invited upstairs where there was some champagne and more churros for everyone. It was unusual as we all had to maintain social distance and wear our masks, but enjoyable nevertheless. Guests were also invited to write a "good luck" message on the glass whiteboard inside the office - the main teaching space.

Two of the most unexpected highlights of this journey are the artistic spaces that have become a reality with the help of my friend and photographer Dr. Cian Warfield, and local award-winner artist Cassie Kirby. They both went out of their way to make their work stand out inside my premises. It was important for me that Spaniology reflected much more than just Spanish language, I needed to include culture and art, something that I try to also bring into my teaching. Cian's photographies are from his research trip to Bolivia where he managed to capture a series of unusual scenes from daily life in Oruro. Check out his work in his Twitter or Instagram pages.

A homage to Remedios Varo, Cassie's show-stopping painting brought tears to my eyes. When Cassie and myself chatted about having one of her original works in my premises, I was NOT expecting to see Varo juxtaposed onto one of her most beautiful paintings Garden of Love (1951). Most of you have seen photos of this work in social media but I do urge those that would like to see it in person to drop by because it is a surreal experience to stand in front of it.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Dungarvan Leader for doing a fantastic job covering our event. To be honest, although one feels a certain vulnerability when putting yourself out there, I feel it is time to finally embrace what I do and what I am good at, without fear.

I leave some pictures here for your enjoyment. Thank you for reading.


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