It’s that time of the year again when the song made famous by Emmett Spiceland all those years ago will be resonating around the Rosses.
Last weekend the new and enthusiastic committee of this year’s Mary from Dungloe festival introduced some of this year’s Marys while also launching this year’s comprehensive brochure.
The weekend’s events took place in the popular Stepping Stone which also houses the Daniel O’Donnell visitor centre.
Indeed the location couldn’t be more appropriate given that Daniel’s wife Majella will declare the festival officially open on Saturday July 26.
As is now the norm, this popular festival will run for a total of ten days and it will include a wealth of events and activities for the young, the not so young and the young at heart.
Since the inception in 1967 of this now international Festival, most people are aware that the release or the re-release of that beautiful old ballad, “Mary from Dungloe”gave birth to this event, but few are versed in the history of the events which promoted the local songwriter to pen the words.
In the town land of Lettercaugh there lived one of the happiest couples in the Rosses - Paddy and Annie Gallagher. Paddy, known locally as Paddy Bhrianigh Rua, whose birthplace was Crickamore , married the former Annie McCole from Loughcather, on Monday, January 5th 1840.
Immediately after the marriage, which was the result of a Fair Day introduction in Dungloe, the couple set up home in Lettercaugh - a distance which allowed Annie to visit her aged parents in Loughcather as often as she wished, on foot.
The young couple worked their small farm well and this was supplemented by a successful grocery business which they found time to operate from a room off their kitchen. In addition to what was described, at the time, as being “comfortable”, they were blessed with a healthy family; - Manus, Bridget, Annie (known as Nancy) and Mary.
The romantic and somewhat bittersweet life of Mary has been immortalised in the ballad which gave rise to the festival.
The festival this year will have a number of new events including an emphasis on walking and discovering the beautiful landscape of the Rosses. With a strong marketing emphasis on the Wild Atlantic Way there is no doubt that this will prove a popular attraction.
The famous Randox Gala Ball takes place in An Cúirt Hotel on Friday, August 1 while the Cope Crowning cabaret and the Carnival Parade will be on Sunday, August 3.
For all details of this truly great festival check out mary.fromdungloe on Facebook