Dun Laoighre, South Dublin at 9 am is a busy place today. Niamh and I are here for the Festival of World Cultures. We're both volunteering - she as a driver, me as a blogger. Whatever happened, this was going to be interesting. Fun, too!
The Festival of World Cultures, now in its eighth year, is a big event on the Irish event calendar. It brings together and celebrates a variety of music origins, nationalities, dialogues and eclectic performances from amazing artists and passionate people.
Volunteers, organisers, performers and the public all come together to participate in a multicultural celebration of how what makes us different brings us closer together. Or to have fun. Or all three.
My morning started with a visit to the Global Village and a chat with the lovely ladies at the Oxfam stand about their presence there. While Oxfam are working hard to promote their links with Fair Trade and to further develop their Fairtrade shops, the ladies at the stand are asking people to get involved in the Oxjam music festival.
Oxjam Ireland 2008 is a DIY music festival. Whether it's by busking, a karaoke gig, a ceili night or a gig in your office at lunchtime, you could help out by organising a gig to help raise some much needed funds for Oxfam Ireland.
What’s it all for?You can find out more on the Oxjam website - You can sign up for more information here.
Oxjam is about raising money to tackle poverty all over the world. You’ll be helping people to earn a living; to get an education, health care, fresh water; and to grow more food.
The Global Village is truly an international retail area. I spotted stands from Indonesia, from the Islamic Republic of Iran, from India, Guatemala, China, Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Palestine, Argentina, Italy and Ireland.
There was a wide variety of products for sale, some practical and others verging on the whimsical. The very whimsical.
It's possibly my favourire domain of the week - www.awaywiththefairies.ie. From a small company in the west of Ireland come fairies and fairy related gifts to brighten up your life.
From fairy dream pillows (sure to give anyone sweet dreams) to fairy cake fairies (to tempt fairies to your kitchen), the folk behind these innovative - and recycled (from Indian saris and more) - products have a great idea of what works well at festivals. What's different is interesting. Add into the mix that all their products are unique, one off pieces and you're sure to please someone with the gift.
Another of the stands I enjoyed visiting was the Mucky Pups one, speaking with Eva Esteve. She struggled to find fashionable (and funny) t-shirts for her new baby, so, with the guidance of a friend who showed her how, she decided to print her own t-shirts. They're cute, friendly and funny.
Mucky Pups have been based in the Galway Market for four years and have branched out into festivals in the last while. All t-shirts are made in a factory in Portugal (which Eva has visited) and then printed using water based ink, meaning no chemicals are involved. On their website they have t-shirts, bibs and hats but I also quite liked this woollen cardigan.
Also Irish (and offering a great hand cleaning) is Phyllis, who is manning the Green Angel stand over the weekend. Green Angel make skin and hair care products from from five different seaweeds harvested from the the West coast with a variety of essential oils.
There's a bewildering variety of soaks, lotions and smoothers, all of which are detailed on their website.
O' Donnell Press publish children's books from their office in Antrim. I really liked the colours and covers of their books - nine so far with more to come!
Some of the other colours from the Global Village:
If you get the chance, take a look at the Global village tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it.