Well it’s all over now folks and, the odd embarrassing blog post and sore head aside, I have to say- what a bloody great weekend! Right, so I know I promised photos of the festivities. I’m not going to disappoint, it’s just that nobody said anything about them having to be my photos. You see I wanted to start off with lasts night’s closing event- a retelling of Bricriu’s Feast, an old Celtic myth from the Ulster Cycle- and unfortunately my own images wouldn’t do it justice.
I’ll get back to telling you about the feast in a minute but first I want to point you in the direction of Robert O’Dowd, the guy responsible for the pictures you see here. This boy really is a photographic genius now in my eyes; if you’d seen how horrible a night it was and just how dull my own and everyone else’s images came out you’d appreciate these shots all the more. I must have taken a hundred and hardly one was usable. (Please, check out his Flickr for more great photos of the event- and of our lovely town!)
So anyway. Sadly the weather was awful; the sky was so heavy with rain you could almost touch it. But we’re used to that kinda thing round here and, apart from a lot of really dreary photographs, it had little effect on the feast itself. Which was AMAZING, by the way. Fairy dancers, giants, warriors, druids, dragons, fire eaters, chariot racing, huge big scary crows, a whole army of bohran players, and some of the most amazing costume design ever. And that was just the opening parade, which marched through the main street of the town where it gathered up us common folk who followed it in procession down to the beach.
There on the shore greens they had erected dolmens, turrets, a stage with huge flags emblazoned with Celtic designs that flapped furiously in the wind, and a 14 foot replica of An Grianan of Aileach (which actually was supposed to be Emain Macha for the purposes of the story, but sure isn’t one iron age fort the same as the next). All with the backdrop of beautiful Lough Swilly. It was in this setting that they proceeded to re-enact the entire tale of Bricriu’s Feast. Accompanied by The Henry Girls (a local traditional group) every one of the actors playing the heroes and heroines of Irish legend did such an excellent job. So lively and fun! I think my favourite bit had to be when all the kids in the audience got into it and started cheering along Cuchulain and booing the baddies. It was just the best way to end the festival.
If anyone wants to know the story of Bricriu’s Feast you can read a summary of it here, though that could never be near as fun as seeing the whole thing acted out so enthusiastically. You know sometimes I think the Donegal Tourist Board should be paying me because I do like to wax on a bit about its greatness. Well, more festival photos to follow tomorrow. Have a nice evening!