10,000 expected for festival of Celts

Up to 10,000 visitors are expected from home and abroad for a six-day Pan Celtic International Festival taking place as part of The Gathering over the Easter holidays.

Carlow is bracing itself for the Celtic invasion during the six-day festival, which runs from April 2 and attracts Celtic culture enthusiasts from across Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man.

The international festival is the annual Gathering of the Celts and features a host of free events and some ticketed shows and competitions for singers, songwriters, musicians, dancers, choirs, poets, and storytellers and their followers from across the six nations.

Festival director Bríde de Róiste said momentum was building ahead of this year’s event.

“This is an extra-special year and we’re delighted to host one of Carlow’s premier ‘Gathering’ event,” she said.

“We’ve a great festival line-up and highlights include storytelling and swapping, concerts, book launches, traditional singing and choral competitions, as well as piping and drumming, harp, fiddle, and dance contests in dozens of venues across Carlow town.”

One of the highlights will be the Pan Celtic International Song Contest on Thursday, April 4, which will feature newly composed songs in a Celtic language from each of the six nations.

Ireland will be repres-ented by Seoirse Ó Dochartaigh from Co Donegal, singing ‘Le Do Thaobh’, composed by Connemara native Áine Durkin. The song is a tribute to Áine’s late sister.

Outdoor entertainment includes Celtic dancing, an open-air céilí, busking competitions, and the festival parade. Festivalgoers are also invited to run, walk, or jog the Pan Celtic Mile.

The Trad Trail features 40 sessions and 80 musicians in a total of 12 hostelries.

This year’s programme also features performances from the Garda Band, RTÉ Cór na nÓg, Thurso Pipe Band, Pervish, The Great Trad Train, and ARDS CCÉ. Language classes will offer a taste of Scots Gaelic, Manx, and Cornish as well as Irish.

A Festival Club in the Seven Oaks Hotel, hosted by a different nation each night, will give a taste of the best of Celtic entertainment from each country.

All fringe events are free of charge and for further details, visit www.panceltic.ie.


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