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29 Jun 2016

385598_309292822487597_1689570163_nCAIRDE Teo are inviting Irish speakers and learners to join them on their annual excursion to the Donegal Gaeltacht for a weekend of culture and craic. The Armagh-based Irish language community enterprise organises regular trips for young people, adults and families to locations where Irish is spoken as the community’s first language. Thousands of people every year immerse themselves in the traditions, culture and official language of Ireland and few would argue that the Gaoth Dobhair Gaeltacht is the best in Ulster in terms of scenic beauty, vibrant cultural traditions and the strength of the spoken Irish language. If you’re planning to visit the northern section of the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ this summer, why not coincide your visit with CAIRDE Teo’s trip to north-west Donegal in August.

There are also few areas in Ireland that can boast such a wealth of internationally renowned musical acts. Just think of Enya, Clannad, Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh and Altan to name but a few. Then Brendan de Gaillí has danced his way around the world with Riverdance. However, Gaoth Dobhair is not just about the music! It’s the place itself. That’s why CAIRDE Teo are inviting you to join them for  a weekend of celebration of everything that’s special about our native traditions in Gaoth Dobhair during the ‘Loinneog Lúnasa’ festival between the 6th and 10th August. The festival programme is filled with music and dance, guided walks, family events and fun.

Internationally acclaimed trad artists, ‘Na Casaidigh’ will headline evening concerts during the weekend festival, but the fun starts with ‘Clann Mhic Cumhaill’ on Wednesday in Teach Mhicí.

“We want to concentrate on quality events and activities which reflect the strong influence the area has on Irish music and culture”, said a spokesperson for the organising committee. “I think it’s obvious from this year’s programme that we’re taking a huge step forward in that respect with internationally renowned acts with local connections, thanks to support from Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall and our local sponsors.”

Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde brings together his three choirs from Gaoth Dobhair, Derry and Belfast to sing beautifully arranged Irish songs as Glórthaí Uladh, Óstán na Cúirte Friday at 8pm.

To make the most of the beautiful scenery in the area there are a number of very interesting guided walking tours. Take a boat trip to Inis Bó Finne with a man who knows the island well, An tAth. Brian Ó Fearraigh. Discover off the beaten track hidden gems with the very entertaining and knowledgeable gardener Dónall Ó Cnáimhsí on Saturday 3.30pm meeting at the Heights, Bun na Leaca. Sunday at 8pm join the adventure with a twilight beach walk leaving from Óstán Ghaoth Dobhair.

318166_309289999154546_697651891_nOn Saturday there will be a Family Day organised by Cumann Curach Ghaoth Dobhair at Cé Mhachaire Gathláin. CAIRDE Teo will be bringing along their very own Gabhla Curach, recently built in traditional fashion by CAIRDE volunteers under the tutelage of Lough Neagh Boating Heritage Association. The festivities kick off at 2pm and will include a curach exhibition, music, food and other fun.

There is a music workshop in An Crannóg, delivered by two internationally renowned musicians Seathrún and Aongus Ó Casaide. The workshop run from 10am to 1pm and cost €5. There will be a food and crafts market starting at 11am on Saturday at An Crannóg.

Also on Saturday, the Family Fun Day at Ionad Naomh Pádraig, Dobhar, starts at 1pm, with nature walks starting from the same centre at 2pm on Sunday. But of course, the Gaeltacht parish of Gaoth Dobhair is particularly known for Irish music and culture, and the heart of the weekend festival is culture: music, dancing and the Irish language. “Focal ar Fhocal”, Friday 6 to 8pm is an Irish Language writing and singing workshop, also at Ionad Naomh Pádraig, Dobhar.

There are a number of top-class concerts over the weekend, on Sunday at 9.30 there will be an evening of music and song with the local legend Moya Brennan, taking the stage with her family and friends at in the world-famous home of Clannad and Enya Tábhairne Leo, Croithlí.

The full festival programme is available on  and on Facebook. For more information on transport and accommodation, contact CAIRDE Teo by email or by telephone 028 (048) 37515229. Alternatively follow us on Facebook or Twitter to find information about all our Irish language events.