Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival opens this weekend

With Sam Maguire back in the county after a 20 year absence, Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival is doing its part to keep the party going with a packed programme of music, drama, exhibitions, literary events, carnival and an expanded school programme for children that opens this Friday and Saturday in the South and South West of the County.

With Sam Maguire back in the county after a 20 year absence, Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival is doing its part to keep the party going with a packed programme of music, drama, exhibitions, literary events, carnival and an expanded school programme for children that opens this Friday and Saturday in the South and South West of the County.

Meitheal Ealaíne and Brendan Alexander Openings

Tomorrow night at 8pm sees the Opening of Meitheal Ealaíne’s Festival Exhibition at The Gallery in Cashel, Glencolmcille. All are welcome to come along and enjoy new works by Meitheal artists Deborah J. Stockdale, Margaret Cunningham, Rick Walton, Ana Stromberg and Micheal Doherty.

There will be more visual art on show on Saturday night at The Abbey Arts Centre, Ballyshannon when the Mayor of County Donegal, Cllr. Frank McBrearty Jnr., opens Killygordon photographer Brendan Alexander’s remarkable Donegal Skies exhibition at 7.30pm. The exhibition opening, which marks the Official Opening of the Festival, will be followed at 8pm by a performance of Maura Logue’s new Titanic-themed drama, Anna Katherine Kelly. These events are free of charge and all are invited to come along and enjoy.

Reading For Rescue

On Saturday morning from 10am, Summer Palace Press and Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival will present Reading for Rescue, a continuous reading by a broad selection of Donegal Writers to raise funds for the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea. The reading will take place at the Central Hotel, Donegal Town from 10am to 5pm. All funds raised through audience donations will go to support the work of the RNLI, to whom the people of Donegal, and all who ply the seas off our coast, are hugely indebted.

Scullion and The Henry Girls

For music fans of all ages, the place to be on Saturday night has to be the Balor Arts Centre in Ballybofey where, for the first time in over 20 years, the brilliant Scullion – featuring Sonny Condell, Philp ‘Other Voices’ King and Robbie Overson - play a special festival show promoting their latest recording, The Long Wave. They will be joined on the night by the fabulous Henry Girls who will be on-stage from 8.30pm.

Session Americana and The Lonesome Cowgirls

Country music is the link between two of the most eagerly anticipated festival events of next week, that is Boston country and oldtime band Session Americana, who play McIntyre’s Bar in Dunkineely on Thursday night, October 4, and the Balor Rep Theatre Company who bring their country music tinged, Australian Outback play, Long Gone Lonesome Cowgirls on tour to Ballyshannon, Killybegs and Glenties, on Wednesday night, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Actresses Orla Mullin and Aoife Boyce are brilliant in this hugely entertaining show that drew spontaneous standing ovations when it was first performed at the Balor Arts Centre in August.

‘Batman’ - The Opera!

After last year’s brilliant Carmen, North West Opera are back at the Balor Arts Centre next weekend with Johan Strauss II ‘s classic comic opera Die Fledermaus (The Bat). Set in 19th century Vienna, this hilarious tale of revenge, disguise and masked balls is set to delight audiences at the Ballybofey venue on Friday and Saturday night next, October 5 and 6. The opera is sung in English, with orchestral accompaniment under the baton of Anton Zapf of Stuttgart State Opera, The cast is an intriguing mix of local and international performers including Ann Jennings, Jens Muller, Gudun Ayasse, Markus Herzog, Diana McLaughlin, Aaron O’Hare, Maggie McAteer, Donal Kavanagh and Eoghan Mac Ghiolla Bhríde. Performances commence at 8pm, booking and Booking on 074 913 1840.

Full Festival Programme

The Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival runs until Sunday next, October 7. For full details of further events, including The Wild Herrings in Bundoran, the Festival Carnival Parade, the RTE Radio 1 Sunday Miscellany recordings and the 30th annual Donegal Fiddlers Gathering, please see the Festival Programme booklet which has been distributed widely in the south and west of the county or check out the Donegal County Council websites www.donegalcoco.ie and www.donegalgathering.