Belfast Telegraph

Derry wins bid to host cross-celtic celebration

By Brendan McDaid

Londonderry's run of cultural accolades continued at the weekend with the announcement that the Pan Celtic Festival will be staged in the city in both 2014 and 2015.

The news comes after the city’s hard-won bid to host the All-Ireland Fleadh, which will take place in Derry next year during its time as the first UK City of Culture.

Derry will host major Cultural Olympiad events and the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race as well as the North Atlantic Fiddle Fest — all this summer.

The Pan Celtic Festival takes place during Easter week every year and attracts visitors to the host venue from all over Ireland as well as the Celtic nations of Brittany, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales.

More than 5,000 people will participate in and attend a range of activities and events including the festival parade, harp, fiddle, piping, choral and traditional singing competitions.

There will also be themed nights from each of the nations as well as a Camogie Blitz event.

The festival is known in Irish as An Fheile Phan Cheilteach.

Representatives from Derry’s Irish language hub, Culturlann Ui Chanain, which led the drive to secure the festival, last night welcomed the confirmation.

Donncha MacNiallais said: “The Pan Celtic Festival brings together people from these islands and Brittany in a quite unique celebration of the Celtic culture.

“It is an honour for Derry to host this event and we are sure that the people of this city will extend a failte mhor to all our visitors.

“We are also confident that local people will embrace and participate fully in the Fheile.”

He added: “Culturlann Ui Chanain wants to thank the County Board of the GAA, Derry City Council, the Culture Company and the Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau for their support in Derry’s bid to host the festival.”

The festival features various events such as the Irish ceili, traditional singing, street performances, parades and choral, harp, piping, dancing and fiddle competitions.

background

|The Pan Celtic idea first originated in 1970, and the first Pan Celtic Festival was held in Killarney in 1971. Rapid development followed and the Pan Celtic International Organisation was formalised in 1973. The festival’s main aims are to promote and strengthen Celtic languages, culture, music, song and sport — to encourage inter-Celtic tourism, trade and commerce.

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