On 22nd May at 6:30pm, Dundalk’s Market Square was thronged with people waiting to welcome Amal, a 12 ft puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian child refugee.
Little Amal  has become a global symbol of human rights, especially those of refugees. Her name means Hope in Arabic and she is from just outside Aleppo in Syria. She has visited 160 towns and cities in 16 countries and has been welcomed by two million people on the street and by tens of millions online.
Her journeys are celebrations of art and hope that draw attention to the huge numbers of children and their families fleeing war, violence and persecution, each with their own story. Her urgent message to the world is ‘Don’t forget about us’.
Little Amal travelled to Dundalk on her way from Belfast to Dublin, on the 22nd of May. It was an especially powerful and meaningful journey. Other famous borders she has crossed include from the US into Mexico, from Turkey into Greece, from Poland into Ukraine
On Arrival at Market Square, Dundalk she was  welcomed by Irish musicians, Breifne Holohan and Roisin Ward Morrow, members of MAD Youth Theatre and Setanta Choir. As part of her visit primary school children from Faughart Community National School took part in art workshops with local artist Sophie Coyle in preparation for Amal’s arrival.
Little Amal carries a message of hope for displaced people. Her journeys draw attention to issues such as immigration policy especially with regard to children fleeing war, violence and persecution.Her journeys are produced by The Walk Productions in association with Handspring Puppet Company.
It was a particularly moving experience to see the community in Dundalk welcome Amal and engage with her. From flying doves with MAD Youth Theatre, to singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ with Setanta Choir, there’s no doubting the empathy of the people of Dundalk and the wider artistic community, we were just so proud to be able to be part of it.