The Pan Celtic festival in Letterkenny was a resounding success for visitors and locals alike and was of huge economic benefit to the town and surrounding areas.
Even the heavy rain on Friday last did not dampen the spirits of the Pan Celtic Festival revellers as they took part in the annual Pan Celtic parade along Letterkenny’s Main Street.
Hundreds of visitors and locals alike turned out for the colourful pageantry which included displays from marching bands, dancers and musicians from each of the six celtic nations of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man as well as a magnificent display from the Inishowen Carnival group.
As well as being a wonderful display of celtic culture and traditions, the Pan Celtic Festival has an economic benefit and it is estimated that the Pan Celtic Festival generated in the region of 7,500 bednights for Letterkenny and surrounding towns and villages last week alone.
Liam Ward, Donegal County Council says that the feedback received from our visitors has been exceptional: “They were overwhelmed with the welcome they received from the people of Letterkenny and many spoke of their excitement at returning again next year. I would like to thank all the local businesses, groups and volunteers for making this year’s festival such a success.”
He added that the connections that have been made will be of great benefit to the area. He said: “The economic spin off from an event such as this speaks for itself but the relationships that have been built and the connections made are also very important for the county. To be able to harness what is unique to each of the nations and to celebrate and share our Celtic heritage, cultures, traditions and especially our languages is a privilege in itself.”
The Festival ran from Tuesday to Sunday, April 3 to 8, and boasted a packed programme of themed concerts, music, song and dance.
The festival got off to a great start on Tuesday night with a special Opening Night Concert at the Mount Errigal Hotel where representatives from each of the six celtic nations entertained the large audience with music, song and dance from each of their own nations.
Internationally acclaimed Gaoth Dobhair singer, musician, broadcaster and former Donegal Person of the Year, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, performed the Official Opening.
An Grianán Theatre and Colaiste Ailigh hosted a number of competitions throughout the week including the prestigious Pan Celtic International Song Contest, the spectacular Pan Celtic Choral Concert as well as the Traditional Singing competitions.
Venues across the town hosted a variety of events including storytelling sessions, conversational classes, lectures, re-enactments, Fiddle master class, walking tours and music sessions.
The Pan Celtic Nights at the Festival Club were among the highlight events of the Festival, as each of the visiting nations pulled out all the stops to put on the most impressive show.
“There is no doubt that Letterkenny and County Donegal has left a positive lasting impression on our fellow celts and work is already well underway planning for next year’s festival which we hope will be even bigger and better” says Liam Ward.