This weekend, Cruinniú na nÓg - a national day of creativity for children and young people across the country - will kick off with a range of fun and family-friendly events. 

Ahead of the festivities, we caught up with Sinead Connolly, Assistance Arts Office, Dublin City Council to find out more about this special initiative.

What is Cruinniú na nÓg and who is it aimed at? 
Cruinniú na nÓg is a national day of creativity for and also by children and young people. It is part of the Creative Ireland programme, presented in partnership with local authorities. As well as our own programming, Dublin Council put out a call out to young people, cultural and community organisations around the city to take part and we couldn't be happier with the response.

The result is a packed free programme in local parks and public spaces, libraries, galleries and museums. There are over 30 events to choose across the city centre and right into the heart of neighbourhoods from Artane to Walkinstown.

How do these events 'enable the creative potential of young people'? What is the overall aim of the festival?
There's a big emphasis on children and their families trying out things they might not have done before with free workshops in everything from coding and games design to dance, drama, comedy, photography, visual art and music.

Children might discover a life-long passion or at worst have great fun! Alongside that, there are wonderful opportunities to celebrate the year-round work of young musicians, artists, designers and theatre-makers as they showcase the work they have created themselves. We also wanted to make sure that our events were inclusive so there lots of things for families to do together.

For children with autism who may not always find events where they feel comfortable, we've designed special events in Cabra and Charleville Mall libraries with Children's Books Ireland and Helium Arts, where there's a mixture of storytelling and illustration and also a special multi-sensory experience called Soundscapes for children with autism and their families - only two families at a time, so it's really relaxed.

It's a day of doing, making and creating!

What is the age range of these activities?
There's something for all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. Check out Tiny Dancer open-air disco in Dublin Castle (under 8’s) or National Concert Hall early years music programme; virtual and augmented reality creative activities with Art Cart in Wolfe Tone Square, beside Jervis Shopping Centre (4 -12); drop-in dance, art and music workshops and performances across The LAB, DanceHouse and neighbouring park for all ages in Monto Cruinniú; a relaxed Games Den in The Ark; eco-themed art workshops in St. Anne's Pocket Park Drumcondra and Mud Island Community garden; create darkroom magic  in Gallery of Photography ( 9 -15); or be the first to discover rising stars in Gaiety School of Acting or Ballyfermot Unsung Youth.

Do participants need to speak Irish to take part? Will the events encourage the Irish language?
Cruinniú na nÓg simply means ‘The gathering of young people'. It's a joyous celebration that we really hope everyone will enjoy. 

If you are 13+ and like comedy, performance, games and music, why not try Axis (Ballymun) flagship Irish language programme Crash Test Caint - it's a fun place to get creative and develop your Irish language oral language skills with zero pressure.

Tugann Comhairle Cathrach Bhaile Átha Cliath cuireadh duit a bheith rannpháirteach i rudaí a 'a dheanamh', agus 'a cruthú'. Beidh imeachtaí saor in aisce ar suíl i do dhánlanna, amharclanna agus leabharlanna poiblí; i bpáirceanna áitiúla agus spáisanna poiblí, ó lár na cathrach go comharsanachtaí áitiúla. Tagaigí agus glacaigí páirt i gceiliúradh ildánacht agus saothar daoine óga, no glacaigí páirt i gcuid den éagsúlacht ollmhór de ghniomhactaí a bheidh ar fáil - leimigí isteach agus bainigí triail as rud éigin nua!

For more information, see the full programme on Cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie