It was a busy day in Letterkenny on Wednesday as the International Pan Celtic Festival got underway and hundreds of visitors took part in events in venues across the town.
The Central Library hosted a Welsh storytelling session while downstairs in the library a unique event took place when speakers of the Celtic languages congregated to share their own Celtic tongues. Conversations in Irish, Scots Gaelic, Cornish, Breton, Welsh and Manx could be heard around the room and while there are obvious differences in the languages, the similarities are even more intriguing especially when their origins are explored and discussed.
Meanwhile in the County Museum a lecture with Mathieu Hergas on druids and bards among the Celts was taking place and a large audience attended.
An Grianán Theatre was the venue for the first of the competitions of the International Pan Celtic Festival on Wednesday when it hosted the Traditional Singing Contests. Well known Gortahork singer Diane Ní Channain was the only Irish competitor placed in the competition when she won second place in the Traditional Singing Solo Competition. The winner was Welsh singer Catrin Angharad Jones, while Welsh group Grwp Gwerin Ynys Mon were the winning traditional singing group.
Young Brodyr Magee also from Wales, came first in the much sought after ‘Newly Composed Song’ competition.
Festival goers returned to the Mount Errigal Hotel on Wednesday night for the prize giving ceremony and were treated to a very special musical collaboration when Letterkenny Pipe Band and Kervignac, a Breton bagad put on a stunning performance that left the audience in no doubt about the special connection between these celtic traditions that have evolved and morphed through the generations to create splendid displays of musical talent and pageantry.
Today, Thursday visitors will have an opportunity to explore the historical features of Letterkenny with a walking tour of the town or they can take part in a master fiddle class with renowned fiddler Charlie Webster in the Central Library. The library will once again be full of conversing Celts this lunchtime while Letterkenny Shopping Centre is the place to be at 3pm if you want to experience some Manx music, dance and song.
National winners of the six celtic nations will go head to head for international honours in the International Song Contest in An Grianan Theatre at 7.30pm this evening. This will be streamed live on Facebook @PanCelticFestival.
The festival club night will be hosted by Cornwall and the Isle of Man tonight in the Mount Errigal Hotel at 9.30pm.
Tomorrow, Friday, promises to be another busy day with the Pan Celtic Parade taking place at 2pm on the main street in Letterkenny and the Busking Competition from 12 noon. There will be music, song and dance throughout the day and everyone is welcome to come along and soak up the atmosphere.