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Funding pulled for high quality trad music event

Donal Lunny

A series of concerts/trad summer music events at Ionad Cois Locha in Dunlewey have been cancelled due to lack of funding from the Arts Council.
The not-for-profit West Donegal concert promoters Tionscnamh Lugh have been bringing musicians and singers to ‘Trad Tráthnóna’ events in Dunlewey for the past twenty-three years.
Speaking to the Donegal News this week, Mr Gerry Smullen, event organiser, confirmed that they had been unsuccessful in securing funding from the Arts Council this year.
“From 1993 until the mid-2000s we ran the event ourselves before we were lucky enough to get some funding from the Arts Council at a time when the level of voluntary contributions fell off a little,” Mr Smullen said.
“Funding was pulled in more recent times though and for the past three years though we’ve been funding it ourselves. We’ve now decided to give it a rest,” he added.
Past Trad Tráthnóna concerts having featured the likes of Liz Carroll, Mairtin O’Connor, Steve Cooney, Capercaillie’s Karen Matheson, Donald Shaw, Manus Lunny, Sharon Shannon, Paul Brady and local heroes Altan.
“I’ve lost count of the number of events that Tionscnamh Lugh has hosted over the years but it’s probably well in excess of five hundred at this stage. At the beginning it was a tourism venture. I was working as a tourist guide at Ionad Cois Locha and visitors used to ask about traditional music sessions. There weren’t any so we decided to organise a few.
“We didn’t want to compete with the local pubs so we ran a series of early evening gigs and it took off from there. Over the year probably every big name on the traditional music scene has played with us,” he said.
Tionscnamh Lugh has also attracted renowned jazz artists Louis Stewart and Guy Barker to Donegal as well as Galway based theatre company Macnas while they also hosted numerous events for the Earagail Arts festival.
“We have provided a platform for young talents to perform and gain experience,” he said.
Last year’s Tionscnamh Lugh Trad Tráthnóna series drew to a close with a concert by Donal Lunny and Paddy Glackin, founder members of the Bothy Band.
“The Frankie Kennedy Winter School started out of concerts we did with Altan.
“We love what we do. Hopefully we will inspire someone else to come along and pick up the baton and continue to bring the best high quality acts to the Gaeltacht region,” Mr Smullen said.

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