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26/09/18 18th Donegal Bay and Blue Stack Festival just days away

Choir of Ages

Ceol le Chéile


With the Donegal Bay and Blue Stack Festival just days away now is a great opportunity to check out what’s on during what will be the 18th year of the festival.


Running from Friday September 28th to Sunday, October 7th, the event is set to support artists and engage communities throughout South and South West Donegal, with another packed programme of theatre, music of all kinds, spectacle, literary and visual events and events for children.


Choral Highlights

Reflecting the current popularity of choral singing in the county, the Festival opens with the truly inspiring Ceol le Chéile Donegal Choir of Ages, who will perform at the Abbey Arts Centre, Ballyshannon on Saturday night, September 29th, from 7.00pm.


The intergenerational ensemble comprises over 80 children and older people, and is led by charismatic, Cashelard-based Choral Director, Veronica McCarron. Veronica memorably led the Choir of the Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny, to the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2016.      


Bluestack Choral

Bluestack Chorale


There will be further choral magic with the operatic stylings of the Bluestack Chorale in Donegal Town (St. Patrick’s Parish Centre) on the same evening, while the wonderful Donegal Voices ensemble will be joined by a 15 piece Chamber Orchestra for their performances of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’, in Ballyshannon (St. Patrick’s Church) and Stranorlar (St. Mary’s Church), on Friday and Sunday evenings, October 5th and 7th respectively.


New Theatre

The Festival has excelled in recent years as a platform for showcasing new drama writing in the county. This year, there are three more new works to excite, enthrall and entertain local and visiting audiences. Ballybofey father and son Conal and Rory Gallen’s new comedy special, ‘Off Your Trolley’, commences its nationwide tour at the Balor Arts Centre on Friday and Saturday night, September 28th and 29th while Dunkineely writer and composer Leslie Long’s new musical, ‘At The End of The Day’, can be seen at the Foresters  Hall, Killybegs on Friday, October 5th and at Halla An Pharóiste, Cill Chartha  on Saturday, Octber 6th


Well known South Donegal playwright and actress Maura Logue’s new play with music, ‘Síle Molloy’ – featuring a stellar six piece band – opens at the Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, on Wednesday, October 3rd. and plays the Aparthotel, Bundoran on Thursday, October 4th and McIntyre’s Bar, Ballyshannon on Friday, October 5th


Meanwhile, festival stalwarts Donegal Drama Circle also have new work to share. They will present the first ever full-length performance of Irish Palestinian writer Hannah Khalil’s powerful family drama, ‘Bitterenders’, at the Abbey Arts Centre, Ballyshannon on Wednesday, October 3rd.  The play, in a double-bill with Washington film maker Pamela Nice’s ‘Its What We Do’, can also be seen at the Bluestack Centre, Drimarone, on Thursday and Friday night, October 5th and 6th

Literary Afternoon at The Abbey Centre.


Writers and book lovers will be making their way to the Abbey Arts Centre on Sunday afternoon, October 7th to meet with two of Ireland’s most popular novelists - Mary O’Donnell, writer of the bestselling 1990s novel ‘The Lightmakers’ and Nuala O’Connor, whose new novel, ‘Becoming Belle’, is attracting immense public and critical attention.  Special guest for this event will be well-known Ballyshannon pianist and composer, Niamh Currid.   


Gay McIntyre

Gay McIntyre



The Festival’s music propgramme opens on Friday night, September 28th with a special concert at Glencolmcille Folk Village, featuring  virtuoso Breton duo, flautist Jan Michel Veilion and guitarist Yvon Riou. We extend a big Festival welcome also to Derry jazz legend Gay McIntyre, who will perform at Aislann Chill Chartha, Kilcar, two nights later, on Sunday, September30th.       


The Ghostlight Sessions complete their first year at the Balor Arts Centre with another intriguing line-up featuring Our Krypton Son from Derry, Donegal singer songwriters Tommy Callaghan and Dean Maywood, as well as Cork singer, Nathan O’Regan.


This year’s concert at Leghowney Community Hall, on Saturday night, October 6th features the stellar talents of Leitrim singer Eleanor Shanley, of Dé Danann fame, and John Feeley, one of Ireland’s finest guitarists and a peerless interpreter of the music of Turlough O’Carolan.    


Fionn Uisce Clear Water Carnival Parade

This year’s Ballyshannon CarnivalParade takes place on Saturday night, October 6th.  The ‘Fionn Uisce’ parade will be a celebration of the clear waters of the River Erne  - a defining feature of the town of Ballyshannon - while the Carnival Finalé will feature a newly commissioned fire sculpture by LUXe landscape theatre and a special lighting-up of the Cathaleen’s Fall hydro electric power station, courtesy of the ESB.


Owen O Neill

Owen O'Neill


FREE Festival Programme

The FREE Festival Programme will be widely available throughout the South and South West of the county, from this weekend. Look out for it in local shops, libraries, hotels, restaurants, tourist information points and at all participating venues. 


The full Festival Programne is also available on the Donegal County Council website


Donegal Bay and Bluestack Festival is an initiative of Donegal County Council, supported by The Arts Council and Creative Ireland. 








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