A night of music, masks and mystery is coming to Galway in 2013…

Masquerade Ball

NUI Galway Italian Society Masquerade Ball

“Society is a masked ball, where every one hides his real character, and reveals it by hiding,” remarked Ralph Waldo Emerson. A cynical view of the world we live in, if possibly an accurate one. It can certainly be said that most of our days are spent trying to be a person we’re not, and that it is only through deceit that our true selves are revealed. In that case, what is the purpose of a Masquerade Ball? Why put on a mask if we are already leading a life of pretense?

So that we can celebrate a night of freedom and revelry, of course! First recorded in Italy during the 15th century Renaissance, Masquerade balls were costumed public festivities that were especially popular in Venice. The Balls generally took place around Carnevale, a frowned-upon period of revelry and festivity just prior to Lent, in which Venetians could indulge in the activities of masque-wearing and dancing. There aren’t many chances for us to put on a physical disguise and let our secret personas run riot nowadays, but the NUI Galway Italian Society are offering just that opportunity this coming February 21 in the Galway Bay Hotel. And all in aid of a great cause, the NUI Galway Best Buddies College Programme.

Ability WestThe Italian Society Masquerade Ball is an annual tradition that raises much-needed awareness and funds for local causes around the season of Carnevale, which takes place for two weeks in February every year. The event has proven to be a highlight of the Societies calendar, with excitement mounting around the college months beforehand, and talk of the night’s high-spirits (and high-jinks) lasting for just as long afterwards. Three years ago, €2,750 was raised for the Galway charity COPE and proceeds of €2,520 went to Ability West in 2010. However, with the current economic crisis, students in particular have been finding it harder to put money aside for charity events. With that in mind, this year we are offering tickets for the Ball at the best price we can, and hoping to raise as much as possible for the cause, while also providing a night of entertainment that everyone can afford.

Best Buddies is a charity college society that is run in Galway by Ability West. The programme was founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in the USA in 1989. His aspiration was to end the social isolation of people with intellectual disabilities by helping them to establish meaningful, lasting friendships with peer university students, and here in NUI Galway, Best Buddies are doing their best to make that dream come true. They pair college students in fun, enriching, one-to-one friendships with members of the community who have an intellectual disability. Members of the society meet up with their Buddy for social activities such as going for a coffee, a shopping trip or a visit to the cinema. The committee also organises group activities for all the Buddies and society members every few weeks, like bowling, cinema nights and discos.

Best BuddiesMany people with an intellectual disability express one wish… And that is to have a friend. Best Buddies is a programme that finds that friend. Social experiences and relationships are a part of life; unfortunately, individuals with intellectual disabilities have historically been excluded from many of the social opportunities that most people enjoy. The Best Buddies Society aims to not only enrich the lives of the Buddies but to change the way each of us thinks about people with an intellectual disability.

Unfortunately, this fantastic programme receives no funding. All the Best Buddies participants, students and their friends with a disability have to do a huge amount of fundraising to sustain the programme at NUI Galway. Italian Society empathise very deeply with the cause, and jumped at the opportunity to nominate Best Buddies as this year’s chosen charity. We hope that you too would like to support their programme and buy tickets for the Masquerade Ball. Full tickets for the Ball will cost €45 for students and €50 for non-students. A full ticket includes a cocktail reception, four course meal and entertainment until late at the Galway Bay Hotel. If you would just like to be there for when the party really starts, afters tickets are also available at the discounted price of €20. Special guests including Carnival-themed entertainers and up-and-coming local musicians will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Last year's ball

In line with the Christmas spirit, Italian Society are offering a discount on full tickets for a limited time only, offer ending Friday, December 14. Place a €20 non-refundable deposit on your full ticket for the Ball now, and pay only another €20 after Christmas. That’s €40 altogether, so it’s up to 10 off the full price. Reserve your place early and know that you won’t have to worry about the big expense after the holidays! Why not even place a deposit for a friend as a Christmas present?

Come and celebrate the medieval values of romance, music and artistry in Galway on February 21, all for the sake of a worthy cause. We look forward to seeing you there. Tickets are on sale in the SocsBox now.


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