Earagail Arts Festival 2024 – Official Launch

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EAF 24 Launch 18

Pearse Doherty TD officially launches festival programme in West Donegal distillery

The 2024 programme of the annual Earagail Arts Festival (13th – 28th July) was officially launched by Pearse Doherty TD at Croithlí Distillery last weekend.

Members of the public and invited guests gathered at the West Donegal venue on Saturday evening for the celebrations which included music by Síle Friel (The Friel Sisters) & Friends, which included Altan’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh.

CEO / Artistic Director of the festival, Paul Brown said the rich cultural diversity within the programme reflected a culturally diverse and creatively proud Donegal.

He said: “This year like all the others features world class performances from around the globe, right across County Donegal – from Catalan circus artists to Brazilian capoeira from the local traditions of Tory, Arranmore and Gola with indigenous spoken word, music and dance events on the 3 islands to the blues of Bamako with Boubacar Traore and the blues of Ballybofey with Donegal’s young rising star Muireann Bradley.”

Joe Devenney, one of the directors of the distillery, said the launch was not only an occasion to celebrate the arts but also a unique cultural mix. “The festival is more than just an event, it is a celebration of who we are, our stories and our traditions.

“We are incredibly proud to host this event, here in a place that connects with our cultural heritage. I would like to extend a thank you to everyone that has worked to make this festival possible; the organisers, the artists, and of course all of you who are here to support and enjoy the festival.”

Méabh Conaghan, Chair of the festival’s Board of Directors, paid tribute to the many volunteers that help make the festival possible every year and thanked members of the business community supporting Earagail Arts Festival in 2024 and encouraged others to do so, too.

To view the full Photo Gallery from the official launch, click here!

Deputy Pearse Doherty said the festival held a very special place in his own heart, and people across County Donegal.

He said: “Culture and arts are something that enrich all of our lives and those who don’t have the ability to access them are poorer for it.

“It also allows us to understand our own culture, our own arts, but also international artists coming here to Donegal to showcase their talents, to showcase their heritage and abilities and it enriches all of us.”

The deputy paid tribute to the fact that at time when families are facing a lot of cost-of-living issues, the festival is presenting many free or very reasonably priced events.

He said: “That’s really important, because everybody should have access to the arts and to our culture. That’s something that Earagail Arts has done not only this year, but also done successfully down throughout the years.”

Deputy Doherty also stressed the importance of accessibility to the arts. “It is great to see that Earagail Arts Festival isn’t just a festival that is in one part of our county, but is available in many parts, from Inishowen to Castlefinn, to our islands, Gaoth Dobhair and many other areas where activities are taking place.”

To view the full Photo Gallery from the official launch, click here!

In his closing remarks of officially launching the festival programme, Deputy Doherty encouraged patrons to get out and embrace culture.

He said: “Culture is not just about the artist on the stage, it’s about the laughs from the audience, it’s also about the applause when somebody knocks it out the park, it’s about that immersive experience, it’s about that ability to no matter what is going on in your life, you could be absolutely in the pits of despair, but going to see a musician, going to see a comedy act, going to see a drama, allows you to lose yourself in that moment, in that time and that’s what the arts is about, that is what culture is about and that is what Earagail Arts Festival has successfully done over the years.”

Sending her support on behalf of Fáilte Ireland, Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals & Events, said the organisation was pleased to support this year’s Earagail Arts Festival.

“Developing unique and immersive visitor experiences like Earagail Arts Festival play a key role in motivating both international and domestic visitors to choose a destination, while helping drive the sustainable development of the tourism sector for the county and the wider region.”

“Festivals and events present an excellent opportunity to showcase the rich heritage and unique culture that Ireland has to offer. They are also important drivers of tourism revenue across the country, particularly in areas that are outside of the traditional tourism hotspots.

Earagail Arts Festival is kindly supported by Donegal County Council, The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Wild Atlantic Way. Click here to check out the full 2024 programme!

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