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).

The peninsula of Inishowen looks both towards the sea and inland to Derry. Its legendary sites include Grianán of Aileach and Elagh Mor. Its past involves St Patrick and St Colmcille, their churchs are supposed to have foundations here. Since the Cenél n Éogain became a dominant power in Ireland in the early medieval period the ecclesiastical landscape of the peninsula may hold the keys to understanding how this early kingdom was first established and expanded.
 The north part of Inishowen is dominated by Magh Tóchuir, the fertile “Plain of the Causeway”. Around the edges of this plain are dotted prehistoric standing stones marking early Christian centres, ring forts and hilltop enclosures of obscure origins.

Near Moville the BSG has established that early monastic sites flourished around the Magh Tóchuir. In 2013 excavations at Carrowmore proved that the site had been occupied from as early as the 6th century, in the lifetime of St Colmcille.

The purpose of this year’s Land of Éogain Festival is to bring together all the groups and researchers to share the results of their work. The long-term strategy would be to further develop Inishowen’s Early Medieval landscapes by securing funding for future research, and to propose this festival becomes an annual event. Developing information and descriptive signage for residents and visitors is vital for the future of Heritage Tourism in Inishowen, to establish it a destination to visit. As a community, however, it is more important to be interested in your past and leave a legacy for the future to pass on to our children.
During the festival visitors and residents can share their knowledge and stories of the landscape, so that oral memories are recorded for future generations to learn from.

The festival runs from Friday August 28th- Sunday August 30th, 2015 and held at Glencrow Hall, Moville, Co Donegal. Initially the first day is dedicated to professional consultation exploring ways to further the research and fund future projects. Friday evening opens its doors on location at 8pm for an hour lecture on Inishowen delivered by Dr Brian Lacey (former CEO, Discovery programme) it is free and all are welcome to attend.

Minister Joe McHugh, TD welcomes attendees to the Heritage Festival Conference on Saturday 29th to Inishowen at 10am. Presentations from professionals in the field from the UK, Scotland, and Ireland set the formal scene in the morning session. Informal conversation, activities, including story telling for children is offered over the lunch time period 12.30- 2pm (events are free, and children are welcome at all lunchtime events). The afternoon session resumes at 2pm until 4pm with final words and time for visiting the community heritage groups in the hall.

Closing the event on Sunday, 30th, the Seven Saints Tour takes place between 1pm-4pm. Self-guided visits are arranged to ancient sites and early Christian landscapes across North Inishowen. Volunteer guides are located at key sites and booklets are available for €2; Entry is Free to the event.

National Heritage Week runs from 22nd- 30th of August 2015- Inishowen hosts various other events around the peninsula:

  • Junk Koutour Exhibition- Buncrana Community Library, St Mary’s Road, Buncrana
  • Buncrana’s Industrial Heritage- Talk & Walk
  • Carndonagh Heritage Walk- (Booking Required) Carndonagh Community Library, Malin Road, Carndonagh
  • Birds of Prey Display- Carndonagh Community Library, Malin Road,Carndonagh
  • Historical Carndonagh Walk & Talk- Colgan Hall, Chapel Street, Carndonagh
  • Industrial Heritage through Story & Song- Saldanha Suite, Fort Dunree Museum, Linsfort, Buncrana
  • Music Trail at the Celtic Garden (Booking Required) – IOSAS Centre, Lenamore Road, Muff
  • Whale Watch- Malin Signal Tower, Malin Head
  • Malin Head Heritage Exhibition- Malin Head Community Hall, Malin Head
  • Leenan Fort on the Swilly in World War I: Walk & Talk- Entrance to Leenan Fort, Urris,Clonmany
  • Guided Tour of Old Church & Graveyard- Old church of Ireland, Straid, Clonmany
  • The Three Glens Historical Walk- Carrowmenagh Community Centre, Carrowmenagh
  • Family Fun Day- The Exchange, Buncrana
  • Industrial Heritage Walk of Buncrana- The Exchange, Buncrana
  • “The Life & Hymns of Cecil Frances Alexander” Talk- The Exchange, Buncrana
  • Walk & Talk around Inch Wildfowl Reserve- Pump House Car Park, Inch Level, Inch Island
  • Bushcrafts & Wilderness Skills (Booking Required) - Wildwoods, Bluebell Hill, Culdaff

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