20 Feb 2019

Adult Learning Providers Throw Open their Doors as Part of the Adult Learners’ Festival


27th February 2019 

- Over 300 events to take place nationwide as part of annual festival –

With free open days, events, and workshops on a range of topics from photography to fitness, adult learning providers are throwing open their doors next week and encouraging people to discover the everyday learning opportunities happening in their local communities as part of the Adult Learners’ Festival 2019. 

Coordinated by AONTAS, the national adult learning organisation, hundreds of free events will take place in a variety of settings including libraries, museums, colleges, community centres and workplaces during the week-long celebration of learning from 4th to 8th March.

Commenting today (27.02.2019), Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “Over the past 13 years, 6,000 adult learning events have taken place nationwide as part of the annual Adult Learner’s Festival. For many adult learners, a Festival event was their first step back into education. Next week, we’re encouraging adults throughout the country to rediscover learning by attending an event. It can feel daunting at first but there is no need to be nervous returning to education as an adult; it’s very different to school.

“The Festival showcases the diversity of learning options available. From community education, to a course at your local Education and Training Board (ETB) to university, there is something for everyone. We hope that the wide-range of events available will encourage adults to try something new.”

The Festival was launched today with a sample event, the ‘Secret Street Tour’ led by adult learner and formerly homeless tour guide Derek McGuire. At the tour, participants discovered the streets of Dublin through the eyes and experiences of someone who had been affected by homelessness.

Derek slept rough for two years after losing his home. Speaking at the tour, he said, “Guiding gave me back my identity. It gave me skills and confidence to take a step toward independent living while offering a way to highlight one of Ireland’s most pressing social challenges. It was daunting returning to learning particularly the public speaking workshops but I had a professional tour guide as a mentor to build my confidence.”

The full programme of events for the Festival is available at:

The Adult Learners’ Festival takes place at the same time as the Belfast Festival of Learning while Cork Lifelong Learning Festival and Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival take place in April.