Star-studded cast of musicians kick-off Guinness World Records attempt in Donegal, Ireland

Friday (tomorrow) evening will see a star-studded cast of musicians officially launch Donegal Ireland’s attempt to break not one but six (6) Guinness World Records – for fiddle playing – including an assembly of more than 1,000 fiddle players in one place at one time.

Admission is free and the extravaganza, starting at 7.30pm in Ionad Naomh Padraig in Gweedore, and themed ‘Fiddles and Faeries,’ is 90-minute long show featuring traditional music including an orchestral-style concert of more than 25 troubadours from all over Donegal and beyond, including maestros on fiddle, tin whistle, accordion, flute, uilleann pipes, mandolin, guitar and accordion, as well as award-winning sean nos dancers.

The talented cast of musicians includes many who are award-winners with their own CDs who have embarked on many top-notch international tours while others belong to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the primary Irish organisation dedicated to the promotion of the music, song, dance and the language of Ireland. Many of the fiddle players are under 12 years of age at least one being only eight, organised by Theresa Kavanagh and Sinead Hegarty.  

The young and not-so-young, the musicians, live in towns across Donegal, inc. Falcarragh, Dunfanaghy, Bunbeg, Lifford and Letterkenny. 

They include –

Theresa Kavanagh – fiddle player and music teacher, Gortahork, Donegal

Martin Crossin, uilleann pipe player and maker, from Milford, Donegal via Belfast

Tara Connaghan, fiddle player and teacher, Glenties, Donegal.

Noel Lenaghan (Ramelton, Donegal via Belfast) – whose repertoire includes rarely-performed songs from Galway, Mayo, Donegal, New Zealand, and Belfast.

Writers who will recite their poems linked to faeries as Gaeilge agus as Bearla on the evening include Colette Gallagher, Letterkenny and Gweedore and Máire Dinny Wren, Gweedore.

There will also be generous prizes on the evening for the best dressed ‘faeries’ for both children and adults, so organisers are advising audience members and performers to take out those Halloween costumes from the cupboard.

Worthy charities to benefit from the two musical Events include those supporting cancer sufferers, Alzheimer’s, debilitating genetic condition, amyloidosis (or Donegal Amy), motor neurone disease, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, suicide prevention and diabetes. 

“This exciting line-up of arts and cultural entertainers on Friday evening featuring top-class musicians, dancers and singers will highlight the rich seam of arts and cultural talent throughout Donegal and the efforts being made to harness it,” said Sean Hillen, lead organiser of the Guinness World Records breaking attempts. “The two events, this Friday and on New Year’s Eve, will not only help important charities but also help promote Donegal and particularly its Gaeltacht region as a prime tourism destination point for national and international visitors seeking exhilarating cultural and arts experiences on their world travels. This, in turn, will create added business for hotels, museums and heritage centres, cafes, pubs, Airbnb, taxi services, walking and bus tour guides and restaurants, thus creating greater employment opportunities for local people, thus helping the Irish language and culture to survive and flourish and bring attention to the need for regeneration of rural Ireland and its traditions.”   

The event on Friday evening follows an informal meeting earlier this week to discuss details of the New Year’s Eve 3-hour music extravaganza culminating in the attempts to set six (6) different fiddle playing world records, including the largest assembly of such musicians anywhere in the world at any given time. 

The meeting was attended by attended by such well-known figures as Mary Coyle, manager, Ionad Naomh Padraig; Donegal County Councillor and Udaras na Gaeltachta board member, John Sheamais O’Fhearraigh, and Michael Doherty, sound and video technician and highly-respected GAA supporter.

Due to its uniqueness and timeliness, the New Year’s Eve event is expected to attract widespread international  broadcast and print media attention nationally in Ireland and  across Europe and the North American continent. 

Register to receive updates HERE.

Due to Covid restrictions, rules regarding mask wearing and social distancing will be followed. Remember to bring your mask and vaccination certificate.

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