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Musicians reel in the audiences for Féile an Phobail

The annual Feile an Phobail — one of the largest community festivals in Europe — gets underway in Belfast today.

Now celebrating its 22nd year, the hugely successful West Belfast Festival has attracted acts such as Westlife, Christy Moore, Girls Aloud and the London Community Gospel Choir over the years.

Among the highlights in the 2010 programme — which runs until August 8 — are appearances by singer Damien Dempsey, Nobel Literature Laureate Seamus Heaney and veteran comedian Lenny Henry.

Also featured will be Texan singer Michelle Shocked, Lara Marlowe, Ceol go Phailistín, and Neville Staple, a former member of The Specials.

The 10-day festival features over 200 events, including exhibitions, debates, children’s events, an international food fayre, music and drama.

“We are honoured to host in St Mary’s University College, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney

who will be giving a reading dedicated to his former |headmaster from his student teacher days in St Thomas’s, Michael McLaverty,” said festival director Sean Paul O’Hare.

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“And we have international star and son of Beechmount, musician Brian Kennedy and Irvine Welsh, author of the best-selling book Trainspotting.”

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