New festival celebrates the Grianán of Aileach

The ancient fort of Grianán Áiligh has much legend and historical stories attached to it and it has been the focal point for human activity for thousands of years.

The ancient fort of Grianán Áiligh has much legend and historical stories attached to it and it has been the focal point for human activity for thousands of years.

According to historians, the Grianán was conquered and destroyed 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 for a wonderful celebration of the fort and its rich heritage and importance in Irish history.

The inaugural Féile Grianán Áiligh takes place on Sunday, May 20 to coincide with the Inishfood Festival which runs May 18-20.

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 in and around the fort from 1pm - 6pm.

There will be lots of folklore and storytelling, ancient song, music, dance and a spectacular carnival pageant. There will also be many demonstrations of traditional skills from the period, including Basket Making, Wattle Making, Yarn Spinning, Falconry and a Blacksmith/Armourer in action.

Féile Grianán Áiligh cultural event is the first of its kind on this scale to be undertaken in the ancient site for over 30 years.

The organisers, Féile Grianán 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 and Derry.

The Féile itself is funded by Inishowen Development Partnership and Leader. The schools project is supported by PEACE III Programme managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.

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.