Glasgow with the Girls

Because having your birthday here is no ordinary thing, Maria turned 24 in Glasgow. We thought there is no better city to celebrate properly! The most populous city in Scotland, it took us by surprise with it’s amazing architecture, intricate street art and cosy restaurants. Definitely recommended!


Maria C.

One last trip around North Donegal


This weekend we had an amazing day outdoors. We had the opportunity on Sunday to explore some beaches, heads, and other scenary in north Donegal. Special thanks for the generosity, ride and great company of the locals ūüėČ We plan to return the favor one day whenever someone visits our home country.

To the rythm of ABBA tunes we went to the Murder Hole Beach (walking across a field guarded by huge cows and a bull, where we still could find a big mark on the ground made out of stones, put there for the aircrafts at World War 2). We had lunch at a wee place close to Downings. We also saw The Ards Forest, the charming beach of Portnablah and strolled along Dunfanaghy and the Ross Head (at one side we were able to see the Fanad and Malin Heads and at the other side the islands).

It was a very much enjoyed day!





European Youth Week 2019. Democracy&Me @ YIC Letterkenny

Screenshot-2019-05-02-at-13.03.51European Youth Week takes place every two years. It celebrates and promotes activities targeted at young people through events organised in all countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme. In addition to the Brussels flagship events, hundreds of activities and events were organised locally. The ‘Democracy and Me’ Workshop in YIC Letterkenny was one of them.

It took place on the 2nd of May in the Youth Information Centre, and was facilitated by me, with the help of Maria, Marta, Zoe, Emma and Kasia. The young people present were in for an afternoon of interactive activities about the meaning of democracy and the ways that people can take part in the decisions that affect the way their community is run.


The session started with a wee debate on what democracy is. The word ‚Äúdemocracy‚ÄĚ is one of the most recognized and misunderstood terms in the English language, therefore it is safe to say that truly understanding ‚Äúdemocracy‚ÄĚ begins with questions and conversation. The 3 minute motivational video, developed by The Arizona State University Center for the Study of Race and Democracy set an inspiring¬†tone for the next activity.


The goal of this activity was to see into the essence of democracy – realizing that one does not have to go far to find democracy, it is here around us.¬†Every participant had to ‚Äúfind democracy‚ÄĚ. They could use whatever material they wanted from the ones provided. After everyone was finished, we did a mock voting process of their creations. The first 3 with the most votes won cool prizes such as travel books, diaries, tea mugs and a 20 euro One4all gift voucher. Needless to say everyone was excited about that!

The event we organised during European Youth Week with the help of L√©argas was a chance to let young people¬† find out more about democracy and the voting process. The workshop was a success, everybody working and supporting each other ‚̧


Maria C.

April’s daytrips


What’s the craic? Marta here writting this time. We have some weeks left of the EVS (now called ESC) to enjoy and many things going on. April’s been a month of trips for me with differents groups in which I’ve been participating along the year and a good opportunity to get away from the office and see more of this green county D√ļn na nGall (did you know it means “fort of the foreigners”)

With the Young Carers we went North to Limavady. Young carers from around Donegal enjoyed a complete activity day with laser tag, clay pigeon shooting (no clay pigeon was harmed during the activity) and hovercrafting. I cannot tell you how sore my legs were the days after. Another trip was to Bundoran’s funfair. Even if it looked closed there was no need for a plan B, as we were just a little bit early, at around 12.30pm. The Art group took part in the Young Citizenship Awards for which we submitted a Loft Positive Calendar made by the young people and their chosen inspiring quotes. The venue was huge and outside of Dublin, so we left very early in the morning to be able to make it on time. It was flat out and with many activities (also a wish tree) and stands to walk around.


European Youth Week in Brussels

European Youth Week brought together young people, project participants, youth organisations and policy-makers in an European event held in Brussels at the European Parliament on 29th and 30th of April. It was organised by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture in partnership with the European Parliament and involving other Directorates-General of the European Commission. Maria G. and I had the opportunity to represent Léargas at the event, along with Vasiliki from Crooked House Theatre Company, Emma and Paul, both from Depaul.

The launch of the European Youth Week was filled with artistic performances, #EUandMe tent activities and an exhibition of exemplary projects on democracy from Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps 2014 Р2020. Maria and I were both taken by surprise to find the DYS volunteering project printed on a banner bigger than us! Getting to explore what projects the other countries were engaged in made us aware of the incredible effort put into making a change in the European community.

The 2 days youth event was filled with break-out sessions meant to make young people mindful of how important it is to get involved in their community. Following the launch, I participated in ‘How can the European Parliament better support and communicate with educators?’ – a discussion with teachers or non-formal educators on what tools would we need to better educate young people on democratic participation & what obstacles have we encountered when talking about it. The session was engaging, everyone present got to share their ideas on how to make the communication on democracy with young people easier.


The second day began with an interactive session in the Hemicycle of the European Parliament to discuss how to make a difference. It felt inspiring to see the courage and determination when talking on subjects that matter to them. To stand up and have a say in how our future will look like represents one of the first steps for change. The ‚ÄėDEMOCRACY AND ME‚Äô flagship event that followed was a moderated debate about democratic participation, all of us present being invited to share our own stories.


Latter in the day, Commissioner Navracsics hosted a debate to gauge the impact of the European Solidarity Corps for young people, NGOs and local communities. The event showed how much it has already achieved in the first 2 years of its existence, allowing young people to learn and experience what it is like to be a volunteer or contribute to society as a trainee or young worker.

Yo!Fest – the biggest youth political festival in Europe

The biggest youth political festival in Europe took place outside the Parliament. It was organised by the European Youth Forum and their member organisations. From the packed programme of activities and entertainment, the Digital Activism stood out to us with some very interesting workshops on digital democracy, how to spot fake news, best practices for political campaigning & civic engagement. Time well spent!

Walking around Brussels

Although our schedule was pretty full, we still managed to take a few hours to stroll around the city. Admiring the impressive architecture of Grand Place, eating chocolate at one of the wee chocolateries in Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert or admiring the views from Mont des Arts Gardens made the trip even more enjoyable.

Time flew very quickly and it wasn’t long until we arrived home, giving us time to reflect on all the events we got to participate in. With the European¬†Elections on 23-26 May being right around the corner, celebrating the youth week @the European Parliament with our peers from all over the world was a good reminder of how change is brought about in a democracy – by voting.


Maria C.