Music and treats for Europe Day

 

THE OFFERS on the table from European representatives in Dublin proved a lot easier to digest than the EU-IMF deal yesterday as European ambassadors to Ireland celebrated Europe Day 2011 with cakes, pastries and music.

Tartelettes from France, sugar-coated almonds from Croatia and Cornish pasties from England were all available in European Union House on Dawson Street, much to the delight of those who dropped in.

“It’s just like my mother would make it,” said Daniela Schmitt from Frankfurt, Germany, sampling the red wine cake at the German stand.

“You give a student a flyer that says ‘free cakes’ on it and they’re there,” said Adam Jennings, a 19-year-old student from Clontarf, Dublin, who, with friends Carl Kinsella and Eoghan Ó Riain, called in after being handed a flyer on Grafton Street.

The sizeable crowd that gathered throughout the afternoon in the building that houses the European Commission in Ireland heard a range of traditional music, sampled foreign desserts and listened to speakers from the voluntary sector who were marking the European Year of Volunteering.

After brief opening comments from Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton and MEP Marian Harkin, the party got started with the North Strand Kontra Band playing Romanian and Bulgarian Gypsy music on the steps of the building at 11.30am. “It was our take on traditional Romanian and Bulgarian music,” said Daniel Page who, along with all the other band members, is from Dublin.

Although the event was described as a “street party”, the organisers wisely remembered that, Europe Day or not, the weather was likely to remain Irish, and so all following acts took place on a stage indoors.

The groups that performed included the Unison World Music Choir, who sang Irish, Dutch and Russian songs; the Slovak Folklore Ensemble Ostroha; and the aptly named Winter Jazzmen, a group of jazz musicians who ended proceedings shortly after 2pm.

Punctuating the musical acts were speakers from volunteering organisations such as Age and Opportunity, Horn of Africa’s People Aid and Special Olympics Ireland.

May 9th is celebrated as Europe Day across the European Union. It was on that date in 1950 that French foreign minister Robert Schuman presented his proposal, known as the “Schuman declaration”, on the creation of an organised Europe. It is considered to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the EU.