Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harry Potter Week in Galway

Wizards, muggles, half-breeds and squibs, the magic within the Harry Potter books was celebrated during a week long event running up to the launch of the final Harry Potter book on Friday night, 21st July.
Workshops, games and story telling, all conducted by magical volunteers and organised by Pilar Alderete from the Spanish Department of NUIG, and Fionnuala Gallagher the NUIG Arts Officer, were held throughout the week in Galway City Library, Westside Library, Ballybane Library, Oranmore Library and in the University.

Children, teenagers and adults all responded with enthusiasm from the opening event at Ceannt Railway station (magically changed to Platform 9 and 3/4 for the day) right up to publication day.

On Friday morning a group of adults, teenagers and children met at the Railway Station and proceeded to City Library (Gringotts) via Diagon Alley (Shop Street). On arrival at Gringotts (the City Library) a sorting ceremony was performed (manually, as the Sorting Hat was unavailable) by means of a questionnaire to be completed. Once all were sorted to their respective houses a discussion was started on the first book in the series and a quiz was held. The depth of knowledge of all involved was tested as questions were posed on spells and potions and such like!
On Saturday and Sunday events were held in NUIG and involved the books The Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Monday everyone was back in the Library in Westside for art workshops and discussions on The Goblet of Fire
On Tuesday everyone headed to Ballybane Library to meet with the Ministry of Magic and a wonderful storytelling session by Claire Murphy on how to deal with giants, fairies, ogres and their likes should one meet with them. It was a magical morning in the library, with all enthralled by Claire’s wonderful voice and sweeping gestures. A discussion and quiz followed on the book The Order of the Phoenix
On Wednesday it was back to NUIG for a treasure hunt and discussion on The Half Blood Prince.
On Thursday the Harry Potter Week moved on to Oranmore Library with a workshop on Defense against the Dark Arts. This was a yoga workshop conducted by an Indian girl involving lots of concentration and the use of wands.
For the grand finale on Friday the event moved to Westside Library with The Big Harry Potter quiz. 50 easy and not so easy questions were posed. After much deliberation and lively discussion as to the right answers by children and parents an eventual winning team was announced and the answers to the questions were revealed.

Galway County Library want to say that it was a great was a pleasure to work with Fionnuala Gallagher, the Arts Officer in NUIG, and Pilar Alderete, a teacher in the Spanish Department in NUIG, who was the driving force behind the event. Pilar, who is from Spain, did her MA in Translation Studies choosing the topic of Harry Potter and its translation. She is a keen Harry Potter fan and expert on all aspects of the books.
The idea behind it all was to creatively explore the books and the writings of JK Rowling. While the target audience was 11 to 17 years, we actually had younger and older! We found many Harry Potter fans amongst the parents!
One little girl who attended all events said that the week was like "being at Hogwarts." This comment summed up the experience very well. Galway City Libraries became, together with NUIG, a place akin to Hogwarts School of Wizardry - a place of magic and mystery for a week.

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