At the launch of the 2019 Earagail Arts Festival Programme at Rockhill House Estate, Letterkenny (l-r): Cllr Donal Coyle, Cllr Niamh Kennedy (Leas Cathaoirleach), Paul Brown, CEO & Artistic Director, Meabh Uí Chonnachain, Festival Board, and Cllr Gerry McMonagle. Photos: Mickey Rooney

IN ONE of her very first engagements as newly-elected Leas Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Niamh Kennedy officially launched the 2019 programme of events for the annual Earagail Arts Festival.

Speaking to invited guests at the launch in Rockhill House Estate on Monday, Cllr Kennedy said events such as Earagail Arts Festival, which takes place from 10th to 28th July, are an important economic boost to the county.

“As Leas Cathaoirleach, just appointed there last Friday, this is the first of my launches of exciting events taking place throughout the county in this first year of the newly-elected council and it’s nice to see some of our council members here today.

“31 years old this year is a wonderful achievement and I congratulate each and everyone who has played their part, past, present and future.

“July being the peak season for many visitors to our shores, along the Wild Atlantic Way, this is a unique cultural experience for both visitors from home and abroad.

“The magical places throughout the county visitors will experience is something that will last in memory for many years to come.

“The diversity, the illumination, music, culture and creativity that we will experience in this year’s festival will showcase us in a way that only Donegal can.

“The importance of festivals like this are great reasons for visitors to arrange their holidays around, creating an additional economic boost to all areas along the way and as they say up here ‘We are different’, and we sure love that,” Cllr Kennedy said.

Speaking of the economic impact Earagail Arts Festival has on the county, Festival Board Member, Ms Meabh Uí Chonnachain also noted the residual value of the festival.

“The people that have been here for a festival go back to Germany, Belfast or Dublin, and tell people about the wonderful experience they’ve had in Donegal, the very good offers we have across food, music, art, all of the above.”

Ms Uí Chonnachain also paid tribute to the festival’s principal funder, production partners, funders and friends without whom, she said, Earagail Arts Festival would not be possible.

TRIBUTE

CEO & Artistic Director, Mr Paul Brown took the opportunity to pay tribute the festival’s late Chair, Dessie Larkin, following his untimely passing in March.

“As well as being a proud Letterkenny man, he was a global statesman. He was as comfortable on stage with presidents and ministers as he was with anyone here in Donegal at any stage.

“As a phenomenal supporter of the arts, Dessie’s absence is so keenly felt. But it is also his enduring legacy, in terms of his contribution to the arts here in Donegal, that won’t be forgotten. And that’s why, on behalf of the board and festival team, I’d like to dedicate this year’s festival to Dessie Larkin,” he said.

Earagail Arts Festival takes place from 10th to 28th July. Brochures are now available in usual outlets, or browse our website for information on all events.