West Ocean String Quartet makes welcome return to Donegal

The West Ocean Strin Quartet.

The West Ocean Strin Quartet.

THE Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny continues its autumn music programme with the wonderful West Ocean String Quartet, who make a welcome return to Donegal on Saturday, September 27.

The quartet has a strong association with this county and features Donegal resident Seamus McGuire (violin) and regular Donegal visitor Neil Martin (cello), together with Niamh Crowley (violin) and Ken Rice (viola).


Donegal has always been very close to the music of the Quartet – the song cycle for Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill and the Quartet, Oileán na Marbh, and the suite for quartet and guitar Droichead na nDeor being two examples.

Formed in 1999, the West Ocean String Quartet’s vision, eclectic repertoire and style have won them global praise. Their music, most of it written and arranged by Neil Martin, lies somewhere between the worlds of classical and traditional music.

Collaborations on stage and in the studio include, Christy Moore, Mary Black, Liam O’Flynn, Matt Molloy, Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill and Brian Kennedy.

Their forth and latest CD ‘An Indigo Sky’ (2013) won The Irish Times Trad CD of the Year 2013. Sell-out performances include Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall and they were part of the star-studded bill at this year’s historic Ceiliúradh for President Michael D Higgins at the Royal Albert Hall London.

The concert starts at 8pm, tickets priced at a very reasonable €12 and €10 concession (students, unemployed. 65+) can be booked at An Grianán Theatre on 074 91 20777 or online at

Upcoming Concerts
There are two great folk and traditional concerts in October. One of the most acclaimed and prolific Irish traditional musicians of his generation, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh performs on Saturday, October 11 and the masterful Martin Simpson one of the true greats of English folk music gives an intimate solo show on Friday, October 17.

Armed with his trusty 10-string Hardanger d’Amore fiddle and a film projector, Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh sets out to give his unique and wonderful take on what makes Irish traditional music beautiful.


Inside the projector are ‘virtual guests’, friends whom he has filmed: musician, dancer, singer, poet and landscape, each of whom make the other half of a duet with a live Caoimhín.

Martin Simpson is one of the leading and most highly regarded figures in English Folk music for over 35 years. He is widely acknowledged as one of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world and his interpretations of both traditional songs and his own compositions are considered masterpieces of storytelling.

Martin was nominated for Musician of the Year and for Best Album with ‘Vagrant Stanzas’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014. He has been nominated an astounding 31 times in the fifteen years of the Folk Awards – more than any other performer – with 12 nominations for Musician of The Year, which he has won twice.

Concerts are presented in partnership with Earagail Arts Festival, Donegal Music Education Partnership and Music Network.

The RCC is operated by Donegal County Council as part of the Cultural Services Division and receives annual funding from the Arts Council.

Letterkenny based GP Dr James McDaid said that an ‘awful’ lot of people across Donegal were using benzodiazepines.


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