St. Malachy’s College & The O’Laverty Library (Gerry)
For #CelebratingDiversity, we’ve asked the members of the North Belfast Heritage Cluster to reflect on what culture means to them as individuals! We’ll be sharing their responses throughout September, giving us an opportunity to explore how different groups view culture. Our second Q&A is with Gerry, our representative for St. Malachy’s College & The O’Laverty Library. Gerry is a former classics teacher at St Malachy’s College and the current archivist of its O’Laverty Library!
- What does culture mean to you?
I take a traditional view of this. So, it must include above all language, literature, music (including all genres), art, drama (including film) and philosophy. To a lesser extent sport, is a big part of 21st-century culture and, of course, television. I would reluctantly include internet/social media although the latter creates a lot of problems we didn’t have before. It’s an all-embracing term so could really include everything from chess and DIY to gardening and bee-keeping. Oh – and cookery!
- What do you think of as your culture?
My culture is predominantly Irish but also with strong English and European elements. My command of the Irish language is woeful so that culture is more aspirational than real, but you can still appreciate the music. No one can deny that the English Language has made a huge contribution to the world and some of its greatest poets and novelists were, of course, Irish. As a former teacher of Classics, the European tradition of Greek and Roman literature is important to me and is another area where Irish scholars have made a significant contribution. An Ulster-Scots element is significant in this part of Ireland.
- If you were asked to name three things that define your culture, what would they be?
Question is very limiting, but I would say COMMUNITY, DIVERSITY, MUSIC
4. Has the place you live (north Belfast) shaped or moulded your culture?
Yes. Educated in North Belfast and teaching here has been a big part of shaping attitude to culture. More recently work as an archivist has contributed to an appreciation of culture and tradition of locale.
- Do you have a favourite part of your culture? And/or a least favourite?
My favourite would be Music (Classical mostly but also Irish Traditional and U2, Van Morrison, Chieftains, Luke Kelly, Christy Moore etc.) but strangely can’t stand Accordion Music.
- Is there a part of your culture that you feel is misunderstood or misrepresented?
It is disappointing that Irish Language is often still politicised – it belongs to everyone and needs to be supported as a unifying force.