In early September 2000, three people living in Sligo got together, María Diaz-Caneja, a native of Asturias, Marea Foley, from Sligo with a keen interest in Spanish culture, and Philip Lyons, a fluent Spanish speaker. Their idea was to set up a Spanish association for adults in Sligo town.

The aim was to promote all aspects of Spanish culture, including language, art, literature, music, cinema and gastronomy, with the emphasis on the social aspect and enjoyment. The idea was to organize three events per year.

On October 2nd, 2000, in the Yeats Memorial Building, the foundation event of Sol y Sombra was held. Nobody could have predicted the success of the event. More than seventy five enthusiastic people attended. The night started with a talk about Spain and continued with live Spanish music played by Felip Carbonell and Andrew McConville. There was also a selection of tapas offered to the guests. It was a night to remember and a great start for the society.

From that night the Spanish Society was firmly established in Sligo. Over the last number of years there have been a wide variety of events held, such as talks on poet Garcia Lorca, novelist José Camilo Cela and Miguel Cervantes. Talks followed on Oscar winning director Pedro Almodóvar and Vítor Erice. There was a cookery demonstration on how to make Paella, and also instruction on making Sangría. We had a night of Flamenco dancing performed by three Spanish students from IT Sligo, and also a night of wine tasting given by wine expert Patrick Steward.

As well as all our events, we have run classes in the Spanish language each year at a variety of levels. Also, Spanish conversation classes have been held in McGlynn's pub and in Osta café in Sligo.

The original committee was composed of the founders of the society. Soon, other enthusiastic people joined the committee, Gerard Scott, Noreen Egan, Felip Carbonell, Luisa McConville, Paddy O'Beirne, Frances McGowan, Suzanne Ryan, Ann Derwin and Lorcan McNamee. They have all made valuable contributions, and thanks to their efforts the Spanish Society is still holding events in the Yeats Memorial Building to this day.

The Spanish Society exists to bring together people who share an interest in Spanish language and culture, and in the culture of all the Spanish speaking countries. In the year 2000 the society was just a small acorn, but now it has grown into a mighty oak. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the founders, the committees and the local Sligo people who have embraced this society, it will continue for many more years to come. 


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