Ray Lannon

Ray Lannon, Chairperson

As Chairperson of the Colgan Heritage Committee for 2016 it is my great honour, on their behalf, to welcome you to our new website.

In this year of 2016 we have chosen the theme of “Revolution and Change” as we look back at the momentous events which happened in Ireland and Europe in 1916. We reflect on the 1916 Rising and the changes that it precipitated in the destiny of our country. We also look back at the Battle of the Somme and the role it played in the destiny of the continent of Europe. By the time the 2016 Colgan Heritage Weekend commences on the 1st of July we will have known the result of the Brexit referendum and I’m certain this subject will be of  great  interest to our distinguished guest speakers and all our attendees over the weekend as the future of Europe is once again being decided upon through the ballot box by our neighbours in the United Kingdom. I’m sure that like the events of 1916, we will all feel the ripple effect of their decision.

I welcome all of our esteemed speakers including recently elected MLA for Foyle,  Eamonn McCann, Senator Marie-Louise O’Donnell, PJ Hallinan and  John McCarter of the Inishowen Friends of Messines, John Moulden, poet Matthew Sweeney and our very own Seán Beattie and Dessie McCallion. I  welcome Dr. John McLachlan who has written a musical piece called “The Eternal Rebel” which will be premiered at our concert on Saturday evening 2nd July. I also welcome the Henry Girls who will perform at the closing concert on Sunday night in the Colgan Hall and I am proud to say that we have two unmissable concerts in store.

I would like to thank all who have made a contribution to the success of the Colgan Heritage Weekend since its commencement in 2010 especially all of the local schools and their teachers, the people of Carndonagh and its environs,  the local musicians and artists who have never let us down, our many sponsors, our many Speakers who have left us with food for thought on many topics and our hard working committee who have worked tirelessly in putting in place in each year an event which has become one of the annual highlights in Inishowen. I am certain that the 2016 Colgan Heritage weekend will be the biggest and best yet and I encourage everyone to attend and enjoy all the events this year. I promise you will not be disappointed.

– Ray Lannon

This year’s Colgan Heritage Weekend (July 1st – 4th 2016) will focus on the theme of ‘Revolution and Change: 1916-2016’ as part of the national programme of events celebrating and commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising. The programme is filled with talks, poetry readings, musical recitals, concerts, walks and exhibitions which explore the importance of the 1916 Rising in modern Ireland, with an interesting blend of local artists such as the Henry Girls and national figures like Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell.

Our keynote lectures on Friday evening come from esteemed political figures Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell and recently elected MLA for Foyle Eamonn Mc Cann.

Our walk on Saturday morning will bring participants to the site in Gleneely of Tomas Mac Donagh’s address to Inishowen Volunteers prior to the Rising.

Music features prominently in this year’s programme. The recently reformed Carndonagh Brass Band, ‘Back to Brass’ will open the weekend festivites in the grounds of the Colgan Hall on Friday July 1st at 7.15pm.

John Moulden, one of Ireland’s leading authorities on traditional song, will present a lecture on the music of the Rising, entitled ‘Songs and Music of 1916‘ on Saturday afternoon.

The Colgan Heritage Weekend committee has commissioned a new piece of music from composer John Mc Lachlan which is inspired by the writings of Eva Gore Booth. We are very excited that this work will receive its world premiere in the Colgan Hall on Saturday July 2nd. As part of this concert on Saturday night, a number of local musicians will perform songs and arrangements from around Europe in 1916.

On Sunday night, the Henry Girls return to the Colgan Hall and the Colgan Heritage Weekend. This year they will perform their acclaimed show ‘Songs of Revolution and Change’, featuring a programme of songs relating to the 1916 Rising. This is bound to be a popular event, and we strongly advise booking early.

Poetry from the era will feature in a special event entitled ‘Visionaries – Poetry of 1916’ hosted by Seán Beattie on Saturday afternoon.

Then there will be a chance for budding poets in the area to try their hand in a poetry workshop with renowned Matthew Sweeney. Matthew will then read from his own work on Sunday afternoon.

John Mc Carter and P. J. Hallinan will give a presentation on the Inishowen Friends of Messines on Saturday afternoon. This will provide insight into the memorial lists of all those from Inishowen who gave their lives during World War I.

On top of all that, there will be exhibitions on display from the Heritage Hunters, a group of young people interested in local history, the Peninsual Potter Lorraine O’Carrroll and Painter and Sinéad Smyth, the Donegal County Library travelling 1916 exhibition, and displays from the local schools competitions. These exhibitions will be on display in the Colgan Hall throughout the Colgan Heritage Weekend from 7pm on Friday July 1st until 5pm on Monday July 4th.