Mad Pride Hits Cork

Mad Pride hits Cork

Written by Christine Allen

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The battle against the stigma of mental illness will leap forward this weekend as the Mad Pride Family Fun Days kick off in Cork and Kerry to celebrate the "normality of madness". The third annual event hits Fitzgerald's Park on Sunday 6 June and will take place from 1 to 5pm and aims to break down stigma and increase awareness and understanding of mental illness.

Founded in 2008 by Cork Independent columnist, John McCarthy, the free event will feature entertainment by musical acts, street performers and clowns, as well as featuring food stalls.

"I am so proud to be holding our third event in Cork, when we started we never thought we would have had such an impact in such a short space of time," Mr McCarthy said.

The founder, who set up the event to promote the "normality of madness", said that plans were being made to bring Mad Pride Family Fun Day to Tullamore this year also. Since the foundation of the event, the fun days have also being run and enjoyed by over 20,000 people in Cork, Portlaoise and even Mbula Uganda.

HSE support

The HSE is also backing Mad Pride to host the family fun day in Killarney National Park on Saturday 22 May, encouraging the best practice in the fight against stigma in mental health as part of their International Conference being held in Kerry this week. Mr McCarthy said the support of the HSE was encouraging.

"The reaction of the public has been great but it is the fact that the establishment are waking up to the message we are spreading that gives us most encouragement. There seems to be an awakening to the need to look outside the current medical model, there seems to be awareness among some in the system that those suffering from emotional distress may not be best served through medication and incarceration," he said.

"We will continue to spread our message that through love and hope the community as a whole can live together with equality and dignity, and quite simply embrace difference and recognise the normality of madness." He invited families and individuals to come to the Cork venue on Sunday 6 June to join in the fun, laughter and music.

"There will be no speeches, no preaching and no lectures. We will simply enjoy each other's company in an open friendly fun way and hope that by doing so we can begin to focus on the positive gifts that we in the mad community bring to society, art, poetry, literature, eccentricity and sensitivity and dispense with the prejudice and fear that presently surrounds us," he said.

For more information about Mad Pride Ireland and Mad Pride Family Fun Days, visit