Letterkenny will mark its 400th anniversary with a series of events commencing next Monday and running through until early next month.
Launching the programme yesterday, Mayor councillor Tadhg Culbert stressed it would be a commemoration and not a celebration as the town’s origins stemmed from the Plantation of Ulster which had uprooted many families and caused so much anguish.
Hailed as the “brainchild” behind the forthcoming events, clr. Culbert said the nine councillors on the local Authority had been unanimous in their support for the anniversary proceedings and similar backing had been given by Donegal County Council. The general consensus had been that the year 1611 marked Letterkenny’s birth.
The special programme of events will open on Monday with the opening of three exhibitions at the Regional Cultural Centre and the Central Library embracing reflections of by-gone days, the former Letterkenny International Folk Festival, and the history of the town.
There’ll follow over the subsequent three weeks a range of talks, tours, playlets, story-telling and musical recitals.
One of the tours will take in Conwal Psrish Church, the reputed burial place of Letterkenny’s founder George Marbury. Local actor and historian, Kieran Kelly will present a number of events while Saturday June 4th will incorporate guided historic walks of Letterkenny, departing from the Celtic Cross at Cathedral Square.
There will also be a modern adaptation on the origins of the town in An Grianan Theatre and among the musical interludes will be live traditional music by the Campbell fiddlers in the Market Square; an organ recital by Raymond O’Donnell in Trinity Church; and a baroque performance in Conwal Church.
AN ecumenicial service will be held in Gartan Abbey while there will also be a free family fun day in the Bernard McGlinchey Town Park featuring pipe bands and other local entertainment, traditional family games, sword fighting and sword making displays, a crafts fair and more.
Mayor Culbert paid tribute to all involved in the organisation of the Letterkenny 400 events with particular reference to Development Officer, Ciaran Martin and Town Clerk, Paddy Doherty and his staff.
The County Council had matched the funding of 10,000 euro to help stage the event.
Clr. Culbert also referred to the pending judging of the Tidy Towns competition and said the town was “so close” to achieving the ultimate in it.
“Wouldn’t it be fitting if we could win the Tidy Towns in the same year we are commemorating 400 years of Letterkenny’s existence?,” commented the Mayor.
Two of the actors who will perform during the series of events lined up were in attendance at yesterday’s launch in the Market Square including Eoghan McBride and Nora Kavanagh.
Donegal North-East T.D.s, Padraig MacLochlainn and Charlie McConalogue, and recently elected Senator Jimmy Harte along with the President of the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce, Patrick McGinley were also present.