FÉILE an Phobail has returned with a bang and for the first time since 2019, the debates and discussions will take place in person. Today sees the launch of the festival with a wide range of events for all tastes. For your convenience, we've picked out some of our launch day highlights:

The Falls Road Mural Tour                                                                                      Meeting point: Coiste’s mural, Divis Tower, Divis Street

Former activists and political ex-prisoners from within the Republican community host this 3-hour walking tour and provide in depth insight into the most recent phase of the  conflict. The guides weave their own personal stories as they visit many different sites that explain both the local and wider history of Ireland.

Takes place daily from 4 to 14 at 10am.

£12 per person (£10 students/children), no booking required.

Contact Coiste na nIarchimí: 028 9020 0770 or tours@coiste.com

Graveyard Raiders - Guided Cemetery Tours in Irish                                           Meeting point: City Cemetery Main Gate

Unique local history walking tours in City and Milltown Cemeteries, presented fully in Irish by Gaelscoil teacher Seán Fennell following a recent collaboration with renowned historian Tom Hartley.

Learn about the Titanic, WW1, WW2, Belfast Celtic, Easter Rising, Hunger Strikes, Troubles, Peace Process and some of Belfast’s great and good. Fáilte roimh chách!

City Cemetery Only Tour: Thu 4th, Fri 5th & Sat 6th, all 10am

Milltown Cemetery Only Tour: Mon 8th 10am & Tue 9th 10:30am

Aimed at Irish speakers and learners of Irish. Please dress appropriately for the weather.

£3 per person, book in advance via sfennell419@gscoil.org or contact 07419509529 for more information

The Violent Birth of the Northern Ireland State                                                             St Mary's University College, Falls Road. 11am

In March 1922 Owen McMahon and his sons were shot dead in North Belfast. Events like this led many to refer to ‘pogroms’, a word previously used to refer to attacks on Jews in Russia and Central Europe.

453 people, disproportionately Catholics, died in the bloody birth of the Northern Ireland state. The panel, historians Jim McDermott and Myrtle Hill, will examine these events with chair Fergus O’Hare. No booking required.

Diverse Voices                                                                                                               Áras Uí Chonghaile, Falls Road. 12pm

In this panel discussion young people from the Black and Minority Ethnic Community talk about their experiences of living in the north of Ireland.

Young people from across the city are invited to attend and engage so they can learn about different cultures and perspectives, become more aware of the daily challenges faced, the impact of the pandemic, and the positive contribution the BME community makes to society.

Featuring young people from Diverse Youth NI and chaired by Féile’s Community Cohesion Co-ordinator, Joe Herald.

For more information contact Joe at joe@feilebelfast.com / 028 9560 9984

In partnership with iAssist-Ni and part of Féile’s Community Engagement and Youth Arts Programmes

Free Statism and the Good Old IRA                                                                               St. Mary's University College, Falls Road, 1pm

From Free State to Éire, to the Republic of Ireland, the establishment and mainstream media in the South have promoted a partitionist mind-set – Free Statism, says Danny Morrison in his new book – and abandoned the nationalist community to its fate.

Successive governments commemorated and honoured the Tan War IRA whilst demonising Irish republicans, even more so with the electoral rise of Sinn Féin.

Discussion with Andrée Murphy, writer and commentator. No booking required.

Drumming Circle with the Gathering Drum                                                         Kennedy Centre, Falls Road, 2-4pm

Join the Gathering Drum for a session of great fun and rhythms! You will participate in a session full of games and rhythms that everyone will be able to play.

During the session you will get to play African drums, Caribbean Steel drums and more! Suitable for age 5+ and families of all ages welcome! Free, no booking required.

Also taking place on Fri 12th Aug, 12pm – 2pm in the Kennedy Centre.

Brexit and the North                                                                                                         St Mary's University College, Falls Road. 3pm

Mary Murphy (holder of a Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration, UCC) and Jonathan Evershed (a Newman Fellow in Constitutional Futues at UCD) will discuss with Allison Morris, their book “A Troubled Constitutional Future: Northern Ireland After Brexit” published March 2022.

Topics explored will be the fallout from Brexit, the Protocol and the constitutional implications for both the north, and the whole island. No booking required.

Preparing for a New Ireland                                                                                             St Mary's University College, Falls Road. 3pm

The constitutional debate about Ireland’s political future is continuously developing momentum.

Meetings across the country have attracted large audiences keen to debate the key issues: a date for the referendum, reunification and political structures, the role and place of unionists and their concerns, the economy, the health service, the Irish language and the impact of Brexit.

Leading political figures will discuss the preparations required for a “New Ireland”. 

The First People's Assembly on a New Constitution for a New Ireland                      St Mary's University College, Falls Road, 5pm

As this island journeys towards referendums anticipated in the 1998 Agreement, calls have gone out for an all-island Citizens’ Assembly. The Constitutional Conversations Group is organising the First People’s Assembly on the island of Ireland to consider priorities for a New Ireland. The audience will form the Assembly and consider:

What might a New Ireland look like? How will the protection of British unionist rights be guaranteed? What preparation is needed?

Chair: Claire Hackett
Panel: Mark Bassett, John Gormley, Colin Harvey, Paddy Kelly and Eilish Rooney
Returning Officer: Geraldine Telford

Paddy McDonnell On The Tools                                                                                    The Devenish Complex, Finaghy Road North, 7pm    

Tickets £15 + booking fee (Limited availability)

Unreserved seating.

Also taking place on Friday 5 August.

Addiction, Lifestyle and Mental Health                                                                           St Mary's University College, Falls Road, 7pm 

Oisin McConville, winner of six All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championships, uses his own experience of gambling addiction to engage and educate athletes to talk about and become aware of their own mental health and some of the behaviours that could pose a risk to this.