Lough Swilly RNLI is set to benefit from a new recording of the powerful song 'Shores of the Swilly' featuring many of Inishowen's most talented musicians.
Penned by multi-award-winning songwriter and pianist, Phil Coulter, who tragically lost his sister, Cyd, and brother, Brian, in separate incidents in Lough Swilly, the recording is launching this weekend.
Speaking to Donegal Live, pianist Louise Doherty who co-organised the innovative musical fundraiser along with singer Maria Fitzpatrick, said: “Our beautiful ‘Lough Suile’ or ‘Lake of Shadows’ has been the scene of many significant historical moments in Irish history, and of many joyful moments. However, sadly it is also the scene of many heartbreaking tragedies.
“In the early stages of lockdown, Maria approached pianist me with the idea of recording one of her father’s favourite songs ‘Shores of the Swilly’ as a fundraiser for the Lough Swilly RNLI.
“The project quickly developed when we were joined by percussionist Gary Raymond, who recorded the song in his Gleneely studio, followed by Mick McGrath who contributed the haunting whistle playing to the track. It began to grow into a real community project.
“A local Buncrana man and friend of the group, John Cutliffe, who is now living in Myanmar in South East Asia, stepped in and offered to master the track,” said Louise.
According to Maria, Inish Media then came onboard and created the “stunning video” which accompanies the track.
Maria said: “Tank and Skinny’s restaurant provided socially distanced rehearsal space, the location for the video shoot, and endless coffee, and local tour company Reel Irish Music Tours contributed to the CD production.
“Local artist Gillian Burke volunteered and did the CD design work. Offers came thick and fast for transport, photographs, archived videos and the project came to life.
“RNLI is a charity which saves lives at sea, and is totally reliant on donations from the public for its operations. Lough Swilly RNLI based at Ned’s Point and Buncrana Pier opened in 1988, spearheaded by Pat and Kate Heaney, who worked tirelessly with many others to help prevent further loss of life in the water.
“To date, Lough Swilly RNLI have launched 675 times, rescued 775 people and saved 57 lives. We are privileged to have these brave men and women, who selflessly risk their lives in all weather and atrocious conditions, to save the lives of others,” said Maria.
The talented Buncrana women described 'Shores of the Swilly' as a haunting lament, which will strike a chord with all who have “loved and lost”.
Louise said: “Shores of the Swilly' is brilliant in its simplicity, and deeply personal to all involved, it holds many moments of happy childhood and tragic loss.”
Maria added: “Please support your local lifeboat, and follow the secure http://gofundme.com/shoresoftheswilly link on social media channels. Every single donation, large or small, will go directly to Lough Swilly RNLI, and help them continue their invaluable work on our seas.”
Watch the fabulous video below:
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