Thursday, 3 May 2012

Donegal Heritage Festival on 20 May

 Féile Grianán Áiligh 20th May

According to Historians, the ancient fort of Grianán of Áiligh was conquered and destroyed stone by stone in 1101 by Murtagh O'Brien, the ruler of the Fifth of Munster as a reprisal for the Ui Neill's destruction of his royal seat at Kincora some thirteen years before. In a few weeks time, Grianán will once again be conquered, only this time not to be destroyed, but to create an awareness of, and celebrate,the importance that this Fort has in Irish history.

The inaugural “Féile Grianán Áiligh” Ancient Cultural Event at the Fort takes place on Sunday 20th May to coincide with the Inishowen Food Feast Festival from 18-20th May.

The Féile will tell the story of the arrival of St. Patrick, who baptised “Prince Eoghan” (Owen), son of Niall of the Nine Hostages and Ri of Ireland, who came to Aileach and gave his name to Inish Eoghain (i.e. Island of Eoghan). This will be done through folklore/storytelling, ancient song, music, dance and carnival/drama/pageant in and around the Fort on the day. It will also consist of many exhibits, such as Basket Making, Wattle Making, Yarn Spinning, Falconry, Blacksmith /armoury, illustrating the life of the area at that time in history.

The ancient Fort of Grianan has much legend and historical stories attached to it and it has been the focal point for human activity for thousands of years. It was unanimously agreed by the amalgamations groups as being the ideal venue from which to host a Cultural event that will acceptable and neutral to all communities involved. The Féile will be a celebration of a period in time of An Grianán illustrating how ancient people lived their lives through work and leisure.

This community lead programme of activity will support important actions at a local level and that will endeavour to create and promote the region to a wider tourism audience, and to achieve greater community cohesion in the locality. The event will help maximise best use of the An Grianán Áiligh historical site and will showcase it in all its glory. The event will encourage visitors to the area, and it will be an opportunity for all communities in the locality to work together to bring much needed tourism related products to an area/region that is underdeveloped. The theory of this Cultural event has really taken on a new dimension and is gathering support from many different sources within the community since its conception.

Féile Ghrianán Áiligh cultural event is the first of its kind on this scale to be undertaken in the ancient site for over 30 years. Féile Ghrianán Áiliagh Group are an amalgamation of local development groups, local and cross-border businesses, artists, musicians, historians and tourism providers living in the border and surrounding areas of Inishowen & Derry, (all of whom have been involved in a variety of projects over the years in their local communities). The Project is supported by PEACE III Programme managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council in conjunction with Inishowen Development Partnership.

The day promises to be a colourful one of cultural and historical interest that will capture the imaginations of all the family with events taking place throughout the afternoon from 1pm - 6pm. A full programme of the events for the day will be publicised in the coming weeks but in the meantime, reserve May 20 in your diary.

Traffic and access restrictions to the Fort will apply on the day. Parking will be available near to the Fort with transport provided. Admission is €5 or €15 per family. Tickets will be available in advance or pay on the day. For further details, contact Mary at 0872905922.

Féile Grianán Áiligh will also team up with The Inish Food Festival 2012: A Revelation of Irish food. Foodies on Tour 18-20th May 2012, this is a food blogger event initiated last year that snowballed into a massively popular weekend of demonstrations, talks, storytelling, singling, and eating, of course, on the Inishowen peninsula in Co Donegal.

For the full weekend line-up, please click the link below:

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