Monday, 17 August 2015

Inishowen Showcases - The Lands of Éogain Festival 2015

Inspired by unique connections The Lands of Éogain Festival 2015 is the first of its kind here in Inishowen. The festival forms part of National Heritage Week. It hosts an opportunity of a lifetime to celebrate our rich heritage in collaboration with The Bernician Studies Group, a lifelong learning community from Newcastle, England. The BSG will present findings of their recent work. A number of experts will give short presentations detailing aspects of their discoveries and progression within the peninsula. The BSG first came to do research in Inishowen in 2012.Excavation proved that one of three monastic sites uncovered was founded in the time of St Columba (521-597).

Friday, 14 August 2015

Celebrating Traditional Music in Inishowen

Blog by Heidi Woods- Tourism Development Officer
Traditional music can be traced back to almost two thousand years ago when the Celts arrived in Ireland. They brought with them, among other skills and crafts, music. Having been established in Eastern Europe since 500BC, the Celts were undoubtedly influenced by the music of the East, and indeed, it is speculated that the Irish Harp originated in Egypt. While travelling to Ireland, the Celts left their mark on the musical cultures of Spain and Brittany (Northern France) as well as in Scotland and Wales. However, it is here in Ireland that the tradition has evolved and survived that inhabitants and visitors alike gain pleasure from.
Traditional Irish Music is celebrated today throughout the world. However, it is a special experience to immerse in the atmosphere of this, an oral tradition. Its prolific nature can be enjoyed in the most authentic way in local pubs, community centres and impromptu venues here in Ireland. Inishowen is home to some of the most talented musicians that practice the tradition during both their work and leisure, as well as during religious activities and commemorations.
In days gone by traditional music and melodies took many forms in reducing the boredom of repetitive tasks, it kept the rhythm during synchronized pushes and pulls, and it set the pace of many activities such as planting, weeding, reaping, threshing, weaving, and milling. In leisure time, singing and playing musical instruments were common forms of entertainment and history-telling.
Traditional music in the peninsula is still very much alive as one of the many cultural activities offered. From the shop selling handmade wares, (Glendowan Crafts at Clonmany), visitors can browse, and then listen to the traditional local music on a Sunday afternoon. The image of the “wooden fiddler” is situated in the music room alongside the craft shop. This cosy meeting place with open fire and hearty welcome for all who play their instruments and those wishing to listen. Alternatively join the throng of voices, hustle and bustle of the pub atmosphere. Locals and visitors are celebrating traditional scheduled or impromptu meetings all around the peninsula.

 Here's how one of Donegal’s most renowned fiddle players, Martin McGinley sums up what the fiddle means to him in an interview by Angela Fichter:
 "It's a companion--it gives a lot and demands a lot. It never stops and is a life's work. All over the world, for whatever reason, people just seem to relate to it--there's just something about it. The challenges that face this cultural tradition is what continues to restore Martin's faith in playing.
He quotes the old adage from John Doherty, "there's more in a fiddle than a man can know."
Although Donegal fiddle music is world-renowned for its unique sound and bowing styles, Martin points out that Donegal fiddle music is diverse and really about the differences between different areas of the county. Martin hopes part of his legacy will be to "leave some tunes behind" as he continues to work on developing original material.
County wide there are numerous locations that celebrate the art of legendary traditional music. Incorporating the concept of “Irish culture and heritage”, Events that celebrate music and dance with story-telling and historical content such as “A Taste Of Ireland” at the Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny and “The Celtic Feast” at An Grianan Hotel, Burt run throughout the summer.

The Traditional Music around the peninsula Calendar for 2015 starts:

An Grianan Hotel Celtic Feast, Shows on Sunday 19th of July, 30th of August, 25th of October, 2015. Prices are as follows: Adults €40, Child 10-12 €30, Child 6-9 €20, Child under 6 is Free.

Inishowen Gateway Hotel- Thursday 21:30 – late
The Drift Inn - Thursday 21:00- late
O’Flaherty’s Bar - Wednesday -21:30- late

Glendowan Craft Studio - Sundays 15:30-18:00 on 14th of June, 12th of July, 13th of September.
The Rusty Nail Bar- Sundays 17:00-19:00
McFeeley’s Bar – Friday 22:30- late
Sliabh Sneacht Centre, Drumfries – Wednesdays 16:30-19:00

CarndonaghPatisserie Pascal Cafe- Saturday 14:00-16:00pm
Culdaff – McGrory’s Bar Tuesday After 21:30
Moville – Rosatos – Saturday 22:30-late
Muff – IOSAS Centre- Friday 26th June, 24th July, 28th August, 25th September 18:30-20:30,  Price: €7   

On the Crest of a Wave: Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way

The research explores what is the current service provision in a specific area on the “Wild Atlantic Way” (WAW) in County Donegal. The paper identifies those service providers that currently participate in the “visitor experience” on a section of the route Rossnowlagh to Slieve League Cliffs; one of the 3 iconic designated signature experiences in Donegal. This allows the researcher to obtain insight in relation to the status quo in the tourism product offering, whether registered or not with an affiliated body. These facts and feedback that relate to the small to medium business sector in tourism provide rich data for recommendations for a collaborative approach for a future sustainable development plan. In relation to the research both qualitative and quantitative analysis was carried out. Statistical analysis was also carried out using frequencies and percentages in order to examine trends among the participant’s responses. The launch of WAW by Tourism Ireland/Failte Ireland, offers a unique opportunity to Donegal. It may open the “flood gates”; allowing access to mainstream tourism, previously concentrated on the lower counties. The impact of the recession in Ireland and particularly the Northwest from 2008, has resulted in closure of many facilities; hotels, B&Bs and businesses in general. Regeneration in the tourism sector is imperative for Donegal to reach its potential, in terms of provision of services, employment and income. The introduction of the WAW is an inspiration for surrounding communities; a vision for a sustainable future. A review of the literature indicates that developing rural tourism and marketing through its stakeholders, Donegal will need to meet the emerging needs of independent travellers in terms of accommodation, activities, access natural resources, countryside and local culture. With the development of the Roadmap initiative “The WAW”, it is anticipated that the number of visitors will increase in Donegal. This will require additional accommodation and facilities. The overall aim of this study is to ascertain the current service provision for visitors, to identify gaps in the provision, and to make recommendations for further developments to support tourism providers, thereby enhancing “the visitor experience”.
Keywords Wild Atlantic Way, Rural Donegal, Service providers, Sustainable tourism, Collaboration.

LYIT hosting THRIC Conference – Leading the way forward in Sustainable Tourism

Blog by Heidi Woods Tourism Development Officer
Inishowen Tourism representatives Siobhan Kelly and Heidi Woods were pleased to attend the Annual Tourism and Hospitality Research in IrelandConference (THRIC) from 11 – 12 June. The conference was officially opened by Minster Joe McHugh TD on the morning of 11 June.  In conjunction with LYIT, RadissionBlu Hotel, Letterkenny, the Tourism College at Killybegs hosted the 11th Annual Tourism Conference 2015.The conference runs on an all-Ireland inclusion providing an annual opportunity for the dissemination and presentation of research facilitating the tourism sector including hospitality and culinary operations.

This year’s conference theme ‘CollaborativeSustainable Development - The Way Forward for Tourism’ featured over 35 research presentations and was addressed by four key note speakers from Ireland, Scotland, England and Spain. These speakers included, Mr Pat Mccann, Chief Executive of Dalata Hotel Group PLC, Dr Diane Dodd, Director of IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism), Barcelona, Ms Helen Campbell, Head of Global Brand and Customer Marketing, Visit Scotland, Professor Kevin Hannam, Professor of Tourism Mobilities at Leeds Beckett University.