Carndonagh to host top traditional musicians in festival of Irish culture, dance and song for Feile na hInse

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Acclaimed Irish fiddle player siblings Sinead and Eugene McKenna from Co Tyrone are among a host of top musicians who will lead a festival of local music, dance and culture in Carndonagh next weekend.

As well as a large number of international visitors from Japan to the US, it is hoped that locals, and particularly children, will enjoy the exciting event’s unique opportunities.

All are invited to join ‘A Celebration of Dance, Song and Music’ from 4 – 6pm in the Colgan Hall on Sunday afternoon, April 28, as well as trad sessions throughout the weekend.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The instigators of the festival are the well known Inishowen Traditional Music Project (ITMP).

Musicians Lauren O’Neill and Conal O'Kane.Musicians Lauren O’Neill and Conal O'Kane.
Musicians Lauren O’Neill and Conal O'Kane.

They have hosted high quality, innovative events aimed at promoting, preserving and performing local music for many years.

This culminated in a trip to the National Concert Hall in 2022 by an 80 piece orchestra and a 49 member choir to showcase local music, with arrangements by Martin Tourish of Altan.

“It’s a full weekend of different events and activities that people can access,” explained Roisin McGrory, Co-Founder of ITMP (1999).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The talks are free and the sessions in the pubs are all free.”

A preparatory ceili dance workshop in advance of the festival.A preparatory ceili dance workshop in advance of the festival.
A preparatory ceili dance workshop in advance of the festival.

“The aim is to promote the music of Inishowen, to stimulate and to engage, to connect the music with singing and dancing, and to promote our own cultural heritage. It’s great for people to go away knowing a bit about our culture as well” said Roisin.

“We aim to train singers and musicians and give them opportunities and a platform to perform and showcase their music.”

Preparatory dance sessions taking place in the Colgan Hall for the past few weeks have featured participants of all ages, with 90 year old Annie Hirrell’s memories of local traditional dances taking centre stage.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Guitar masterclasses have also been taking place under the guidance of Mickey Gallanagh, in preparation for an advanced ensemble workshop on Saturday.

The main events of the planned weekend are two concerts to be held in the Colgan Hall. 8pm on Friday evening will see the launch of a CD called “Por,” (from Charles McGlinchey’s The Last of the Name, meaning “a breed of people who had the music in them”).

This is a new album celebrating the work of contemporary local composers. This will be followed by a Festival Club at 10pm in Simpsons bar featuring leading Irish trad musicians.

The ‘Music of the North’ concert will be held in the Colgan Hall on Saturday night with Sinead and Eugene McKenna, and ensemble tutors Conal O’Kane and Marty Barry. Some of these people are tutoring ensemble workshops with young people on Saturday as well.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There will be several trad sessions in iconic local pubs like McClure’s Bar, Farrens Bar and the Glen Bar in a ‘Festival Session Trail’ on Saturday between 12 and 6pm.

You can find out all the information you need and get tickets for Feile na hInse in Carndonagh, Co Donegal, which takes place from 26 – 28 April 2024 at

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.