BY SEÁN P. FEENY
MORE than 10,000 people are expected to visit Letterkenny for a weekend of music, dancing and storytelling as the Cathedral town once again plays host to the annual Oireachtas festival next week (November 1 to 4).
The Oireachtas attracts enthusiasts and performers of the traditional arts, including sean-nós dancing, sean-nós singing and storytelling from all over the world.
Accommodation in around Letterkenny is as good as fully booked as the town gets ready to host this prestigious Irish language event for the first time in three years.
John Watson , Letterkenny Chamber President, said the near capacity in accommodation bookings proved just how valuable the event is to the economy.
“October and November are traditionally quiet times for hotel providers so this festival that attracts hundreds of people is just perfect timing and a welcome boost.
“In addition those attending will be able to experience at first hand the warm welcome and see what Letterkenny has to offer in terms of retail, leisure and entertainment.
In light of the success of the 2009 Oireachtas in Letterkenny, Town Mayor, Cllr Dessie Larkin said a unanimous decision by the town council to invest €50,000 into the event came very easily.
“The Oireachtas wasn’t just a success for the local economy and tourism, but what also came with it was the prestige to get the opportunity to host such a premiere event in the Irish cultural calendar,” said Cllr Larkin.
In his capacity as town mayor, Cllr Larkin will be attending numerous events throughout the week and he is looking forward to seeing the best in Irish song, dance and poetry.
“I’d like to pay a special tribute to Caitlin Uí Chochláin for all she has done in to bring this event to Donegal again and all her work the Irish language. I’m really looking forward to it, there will be a great buzz around the town,” he said.
One of the highlights of the weekend will be the Steip sean-nós dancing competition, which will be broadcast live on TG4, while Otv, the dedicated online Oireachtas festival channel, will show footage of various events.
Other highlights include the Corn Uí Riada sean-nós singing competition, held in memory of Sean Ó Riada, in which champions and challengers will sing in a variety of regional styles to win the prestigious title.
Popular Raidio na Gaeltachta broadcaster and champion of the Irish Language, Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí will also once again host his popular Cabaret Craiceailte at the Oireachtas.
On Saturday, November 3, at the Clanree Hotel, Rónán will host Dirty 9’s, Daithí Ó Drónaí, Tura Aru Tura, Mó Hat Mó Gheansaí agus cuid mhór aoíanna móra eile atá le fógairt.
All major Irish language organisations will attend the festival, including Foras na Gaeilge, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Conradh na Gaeilge, which will hold seminars and meetings during the weekend.
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