Fun and inspiring events at Amazing Grace Festival

Buncrana's Amazing Grace festival is set to begin this weekend, with a wide range of inspiring and fun events for all ages.

Friday, 1st April 2016, 11:38 am
Updated Monday, 4th April 2016, 12:38 pm
Councillor Nicholas Crossan pictured at the opening ceremony of this year's Amazing Grace Festival at the Shorefront, Buncrana with Bekah Schulz, Liv Calder, Mirelle Patrey and Susie Garvey-Williams. DER1415MC052

Now in its fourth year, the festival is raising awareness of homelessness with special guests including homelessness campaigner, Fr. Peter Mc Verry.

The community festival celebrates the anniversary of John Newton’s arrival in Lough Swilly on 8 April 1748 at the most pivotal moment in his life. Transformed by God’s “Amazing Grace”, John Newton went on to become a clergyman and hymn writer and campaigned with William Wilberforce for an end to the Slave Trade.

With history, music, dance, art, exhibitions, family fun, modern-day faith stories, walks and talks, the festival (which is run entirely by volunteers) truly offers something for everyone.

This year’s theme is “Home”, taken from the line in the song “…and grace will lead me home”.

The festival will explore what “home” means to each one of us and highlight the issue of homeless, raising much-needed funds for homeless charities North West Simon Community, Focus Ireland and the Peter Mc Verry Trust as well as the Magoso School and Orphanage in Kenya.

“Here in Buncrana, we can be rightly proud of our vital connection to the story of John Newton and Amazing Grace,” explained festival organiser Ruth Garvey-Williams.

“Today the song ‘Amazing Grace’ is beloved by millions of people all over the world. We hope that the festival will continue to be a welcome addition to our community calendar as well as attracting visitors from around Ireland, Northern Ireland and overseas.”

A family fun street festival will kick off the programme of events on Saturday 2 April from 12 - 4pm.

Watch out for the “Ideal Home” Sandcastle competition at Lady’s Bay, Buncrana after school on Wednesday 6 April and the interactive John Newton Experience has got even bigger this year, with new hands-on attractions helping to bring history to life - the exhibition will be open every day of the festival in the Church of Ireland Hall, Church Street (10.30am to 5pm, 1 - 5pm on Sunday).

Most events are free with opportunities to donate to the various charities. As part of the festival finale, local musicians have now planned the “With Love” community concert for Friday 8 April at 8.30pm at The Plaza, Main Street, Buncrana. This will be a beautiful and uplifting concert with all profits going to the family bereaved by the recent tragedy in Buncrana. Admission €5. Tickets on the door.

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