03 Dec 2021

World music record breaking attempt to take place in Donegal

World music record breaking attempt to take place in Donegal

Final preparations are underway for a World Record Breaking Event in Gweedore in co-operation with Canada-based multi-national company, The Jim Pattison Group, owners of the Guinness Book of World Records.

Among many things, Donegal is renowned for its specialised style of fiddle-playing, as such, more than one thousand (1,000) fiddlers will ensemble over New Year in the parish of Gweedore. It will be the largest gathering of fiddle players ever assembled in the world in one place.

Organiser of the event, author, travel, tourism and entertainment writer and former international publisher, Sean Hillen, who lives in the village of Bun na Leaca in the heart of the Donegal Gaeltacht.

The plan for the world-record breaking attempt was formulated after discussions on with a number of leading figures including Donegal TD for the Gweedore region, Sinn Fein finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, Micheal Heaney, CEO of Irish-language group, Udaras na Gaeltachta and Colm O’Baoill, co-ordinator of Foras na Gaeilge in Gweedore, Dónall Ó Cnáimhsí, Irish language planning officer, as well as local Donegal County Councillor, John Sheamais O’Fearraigh over the last week. 

The event will be supported by a number of Irish-language and cultural organisation including Udaras and Donegal Tourism. Fiddle player extraordinaire Martin McGinley, manager of a great project, Donegal Music Education Partnership, has also been informed about the event and it is hoped that young musicians who have undergone training under that scheme will take part in the world record-breaking event, says Sean.

“This event is expected to be one of the most historic single cultural events ever to take place in Donegal and attract a very large audience,” said Mr. Hillen, who writes for JustLuxe, a US travel and hospitality publication with an estimated 2.5 million readers. 

He was a former foreign correspondent for The Irish Times in Dublin and The Times in London, as well as Time magazine in New York. West Belfast-born Sean, a joint Irish and American citizen, also worked at the United Nations Media Center in New York and was chairperson of a national US Fulbright Commission.

“Working with Jim Pattison and his staff at the Jim Pattison Group on developing the idea for a world record breaking attempt has been an encouraging and uplifting experience, said Sean.

“I believe a musical event of such magnitude will place an immense international spotlight on this small corner of the world - the Donegal Gaeltacht which happens to be my home, and will highlight the rich vein of traditional arts and culture alive and well that has survived down through the generations.”

He added: “It is hoped that such an event, which should attract widespread media coverage around Europe and the US,  will do much to persuade the large numbers of national and international visitors who come to Ireland every year to add Donegal to their itinerary, thus helping provide added business for local cafes, hotels, restaurants and bars. This, in turn, will provide employment for local people and keep Irish-speaking living at home and curb the emigrant flow away to find jobs in other parts of Ireland and abroad.”  

Sean continued: “Donegal and particularly the western coast has long been an economically marginalised region of Ireland but it’s beautiful seascapes and landscapes along the famous ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ makes it a perfect location to launch such a memorable World Record breaking musical event.”  

Sean said the official launch of the Guinness World Record Breaking Event will take place at Cnoc Fola (Bloody Foreland) Community Hall on Halloween weekend during a special drama-cum-music cabaret as Gaeilge agus as Bearla entitled ‘Faeries and Fiddlers,’ which will be attended by selected VIPs and will feature some of the musicians who will take part in the World Record Breaking Event. 

He explained that the Guinness World Record breaking event itself will be held over the New Year celebrations when a special traditional music festival-cum-music-classes initiative, formerly called Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy (Frankie Kennedy Winter School) now co-ordinated by local community centre, An Chrannog, in Bunbeg. Special classes and workshops in fiddle playing take place in An Chrannog.     

For further information, contact Sean Hillen at (00 353) 833 556778 or via email at 

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.