Tory tower, Srúth na Maoille, an Glás Gaibhleann and Balor na súile nimhe will strongly feature this weekend in Cloch Cheann Fhaola.
There are very few parishes in Ireland that have as rich a history as the parish of Cloch Cheann Fhaola.
Last year, Falcarragh native, Kathleen Gallagher ran a festival to commemorate the history of the area.
The festival proved such a success that this year, once again, the wonderful Gaeltacht town of Falcarragh will this weekend become a rich tapestry of culture and craic with the ancient history of the area proving to be the vital backdrop to the occasion.
A Celtic tale of Pagan gods, a princess locked in an island tower, a cow that provided never-ending milk and the story of an evil-eyed man and Lugh an Lámh Fhada will all be brought to life in the carnival experience that will undoubtedly make this festival a huge success.
The main organiser of the event, Kathleen Gallagher, is hopeful that the weather will remain good for the weekend.
She said: “We are hoping that the weather will be good but that said, even if it isn’t, there is so much to do that it is well worth your while coming to Falcarragh this weekend.”
This event is not one that sporadically presents itself. The organising committee has been at the helm of the project since last February.
“Everyone has proved to be such a help. Organisation for this event began in February,” Kathleen said.
The part-time kayak and exercise instructor has been working around the clock this week to ensure that all the final touches are in place ahead of this weekend.
“The weekend will begin with a procession through the town. We will have stilt walkers, a drum procession and our own local band taking part. The event will introduce the main characters of the story to the people who come here on Friday. Balor’s army will be transformed into a samba band and will lead Balor into town to steal the Glás Gaibhleann cow. It will be full of colour and vibrance,” she said.
The occasion will awaken the town to the festival weekend which promises to encompass a carnival experience.
Huge puppets, art sculptures, light structures will all pass through Falcarragh town as locals and tourists line the walkways of the town. On Saturday, a quest will take place to find Lugh an Lámh Fhada and perhaps Lugh beag.
“The festival will tell the whole story from beginning to end and there will be something for all the family. Last year, all ages really enjoyed it. The story is told in an interactive manner,” she said.
The organiser, who works part-time in Letterkenny teaching school leavers a Fetac level 4 course in the evening, is an expert in time management.
She finds that on occasion she has to juggle certain elements of her day in order to undertake the mammoth task of organising the event.
“At times, I find that I have to juggle so many things around. I like to keep busy otherwise, I find that I get bored,” she said.
A true appreciation of the area she is from, an appreciation of the history and culture of the area and an organised and diligent manner are what drive Kathleen to organise this weekend’s events.
“I’m from Falcarragh, I was born and bred here and I have lived here most of my life. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I am an outdoors person and I love the sea and the mountains and I love getting out to the beach and places like that,” she said.
The well known Inish Eoghain Gospel Choir will be in attendance this weekend. Many local entertainers will also be appearing in the local pubs and eateries. It is certain that there will be plenty of entertainment to chose from during the three-day festival.
Re-enactments of the slaying of Balor will take place in Ballyconnell forest over the weekend.
One of the events which has really captivated the imagination of the masses will take place on Saturday evening in Killult.
A candelabra lit St. Anne’s Church in Killult will be the stage on which Balor will enjoy a feast of roast pig andwine and celebrate his victories in your company. The softly lit chapel will certainly inspire storytelling and imagination for those who will take part in the feast for a mere €10 a ticket.
On Sunday morning, people can get active again after the evening’s celebrations.
‘The Glass Mountain’ a wonderful depiction of the history and industry of the Muckish island will be broadcast.
Following the broadcast people are invited to scale the mountain. They can take one of two routes, one along the path on which some of the old machinery that was used by the miners in times gone by can still be found. Others are invited to take an easier route.
Wild life lovers will not be disappointed either with a bird of prey event taking place. The event will be broadened out to include the medieval theme with weapons from that historic era being on display.
The weekend will showcase an era of ancient history which is geographical in heritage from Tory Island, to Cnoc Fola to Cloch Cheann Fhaola. It will be a festival that will echo of times gone by, of a story that may have been forgotten by this generation but for the perseverance and acute understanding of people like Kathleen Gallagher.
“It’s a fantastic story and one that all ages can enjoy,” she said.
“The festival will host an event that will undoubtedly suit people of all ages. I am certain that it will be an event that people wouldn’t want to miss,” she said.
The festival is one, that even in it’s infancy, has much to offer and will attract people from across the locality as well as further afield.
So, this weekend, no matter what the weather is like, make your way to Cloch Cheann Fhaola.
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