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4/3/2018 - Pan Celtic Festival opens in Letterkenny

Pan Celtic Festival Opening Night 2

Cllr. Jimmy Kavanagh, Mayor of Letterkenny MD, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, Cllr. Gerry McMonagle, Cathaoirleach with representatives from the Breton and Cornish delegations at the opening


The 47th International Pan Celtic Festival got off to a colourful start last night in Letterkenny with a special Opening Night Concert at the Mount Errigal Hotel where representatives from each of the six celtic nations entertained the large audience with music, song and dance from each of their own nations.


Internationally acclaimed Gaoth Dobhair singer, musician, broadcaster and former Donegal Person of the Year, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, performed the Official Opening while the large congregation of fellow celts were welcomed to Donegal and Letterkenny by the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Gerry McMonagle and Mayor of Letterkenny MD Cllr. Jimmy Kavanagh.


The evening featured performers from each of the participating Celtic nations – Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Brittany - as well as a special performance by top Donegal traditional ensemble, Coirm. 


Pan Celtic Festival Opening Night 16

Mairead Ni Maonaigh officially opening the 47th International Pan Celtic Festival in Letterkenny 


The Festival runs from Tuesday to Sunday, April 3 to 8, and boasts a packed programme of themed concerts, music, song and dance workshops and competitions, talks, storytelling sessions, Celtic language workshops, street pageantry, spectacle and drama.


Festival events will take place in a variety of venues and locations throughout Letterkenny including An Grianán Theatre, the Mount Errigal Hotel, the Central Library, Letterkenny Shopping Centre, Donegal County Museum, the Courtyard Shopping Centre, Coláiste Ailigh, the Market Square and St. Eunan’s Cathedral.


Pan Celtic Nights at the Festival Club

The Pan Celtic Nights at the Festival Club are among the highlight events of the Festival, as each of the visiting nations pull out all the stops to put on the most impressive show.


Pan Celtic Festival Opening Night 21

Breton dancers entertaining the audience during the special opening night concert


Breton Céilí

First off, at the Mount Errigal Hotel on Wednesday night (7.00pm), are the Bretons. Their Breton Céilí will feature performances by the 20 member An Drouz Vor (‘Glór na Farraige /The Sound of the Sea’) community performance group from the town Port Louis in South Brittany, as well as the 17 singers and four musicians of the Mat’lots du Vent ensemble from Lorient, who will perform a programme of traditional sea songs and shanties, in French, English and Breton. The audience on the night will also be treated to a special Pan Celtic Festival collaboration between the Kervignac pipe band from Brittany and the Letterkenny and District Pipe Band.


Welsh and Scottish Nights

On Friday night, April 6, the Festival Club at the Mount Errigal will feature performances from visiting Welsh choirs, including the 60 strong Cordydd from Cardiff.  This mixed choir has won many competitions in Wales including the National Eisteddfod many times and the Cor Cymru. Also performing will be Cor Dre from Caernarfon and Eryrod Meirion from the Bala area of North Wales.


Participating Scottish choirs at the Festival Club in the Mount Errigal on Saturday night, April 7 will include the Dingwall Gaelic Choir, the Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir (founded by Islay migrants to Glasgow in 1944) and the Burach Gaelic Choir.


Admission to each of the Celtic Nation Nights is €10 and tickets may be Purchased or Booked in Advance at the An Grianán Theatre Box Office, or purchased at the Door, on the night.


Pan Celtic Song Contest and Choral Concert 

An Grianán Theatre, as well as hosting the Festival Office and Festival Ticket Office, will host some of the Festival’s most highly anticipated competitive events and concert performances. These include the prestigious Pan Celtic International Song Contest on Thursday night, April 5 and the spectacular Pan Celtic Choral Concert on Friday night, April 6, as well as the Traditional Singing competitions on Wednesday afternoon, April 4. 


Pan Celtic Festival Opening Night 13

The Breton delegation making a presentation to the Mayor of Letterkenny MD Cllr. Jimmy Kavanagh and Cathaoirleach Cllr. Gerry McMonagle


Street Pageantry and Spectacle

The Festival will take to the streets on Friday afternoon, April 6, with a special Pan Celtic Busking Competition from 12 noon followed by the Pan Celtic Parade, from An Grianán Theatre to the Market Square at 2.00pm.  The Parade will feature marching bands, dancers and musicians from the Celtic nations, as well as a special appearance by Inishowen Carnival Group, who will bring their spectacular pageant, The Ancients – featuring the Celtic gods Daghda and Morrigan – to town for the event.


Further Events and Programme Information

Details of further Pan Celtic Festival events, such as the Celtic language classes and workshops series at the Central Library, the lecture on Druids and Bards at the County Museum, the hugely popular Scottish Céilí event, the Inter-Celtic Dance Competition, special religious services and walking tours of Letterkenny, are all to be found in the Festival Programme.





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