A festival held annually in west Donegal is to be dedicated this year to the life of the late Francie Mooney.
Born in Gaoth Dobhair in 1922 Francie – Proinsias Ó Maonaigh – had an immeasurable impact on Irish traditional culture through his music.
Now the renowned fiddle player’s life and work are to be the subject of Éigse Uladh, a three day celebration organised by local community group An Chrannóg.
Éigse Uladh runs over the weekend of April 28, 29 and 30 and audiences will hear about the artist as well as his vast contribution to his community, traditional arts, sport and education.
An Chrannóg’s Caitríona Nic Gairbhigh said, “Éigse Uladh is an annual festival and we choose a different aspect of traditional culture to celebrate every year. This year the committee came together to discuss possible themes and it was unanimous that it was time to celebrate Francie Mooney and his life and work.”
Francie Mooney’s legacy can be found in many aspects of life in west Donegal. His music lives on in his children, Gearóid Ó Maonaigh, Altan’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Áine Ní Mhaonaigh and in fiddle playing grandson Ciarán Ó Maonaigh.
He taught at Luinneach primary school in Gaoth Dobhair from 1967 until his retirement in 1996. He also taught many locals how to play the fiddle up to the age of 82. And he was a GAA footballer and contributed greatly to the local and county sporting scene.
Caitríona Nic Gairbhigh said there were plans to mark Francie’s life at an earlier stage but they were put on hold due to the pandemic. His life was shaped so heavily by music that the committee felt it was only right that he be remembered through a series of in-person gatherings.
Éigse Uladh will launch on April 28 with a lecture about Mr Mooney’s life followed by a series of musical events. Caitríona Nic Gairbhigh said there will be a particular focus on getting young people involved as the late fiddler spent so much of his life educating children.
“Francie’s legacy has grown bigger every year and we felt it was very important that we celebrate the mark he has made. He taught so many people in school and in music. He touched the lives of so many and he deserves to be honoured properly.”
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