Download the programme here.
Friday 24 March

Opening Address
by Kevin McGonigle, Chairperson

Opening Lecture
Packie Manus Byrne (1917­—2015), Song Writer of the Century by John Waltham

Home & Away Session

hosted by Colm Toland and Jim MacFarland

Saturday 25 March

Song Tour of the District of Urris
  Clonmany, led by Colm Toland

Inishowen Singers’ Circle Session
McFeeley’s Bar, Clonmany

Seminar Dinner
Ballyliffin Hotel

Festival Concert
featuring festival guests,
Ballyliffin Hotel

Sunday 26 March

12 noon
Music Session  
The North Pole Bar, Drumfries

North Pole Session  
The North Pole Bar, Drumfries

Mac Tam’s Session  
Mac Tam‘s Bar, Clonmany

Monday 27 March

12 noon 
Farewell Session
The Rusty Nail, Crossconnell, Clonmany

Festival Guests 2017


Landless are Lily Power, Meabh Meir, Ruth Clinton and Sinead Lynch. Formed in 2013, they have risen to acclaim as singers of unaccompanied traditional songs in close harmony. The band have featured at many festivals and events in Ireland and released an EP in 2014. Their four-part harmonies bring together uniquely the strength of their individual quality as solo singers. The Inishowen International Folk Song & Ballad Seminar is proud to acknowledge that each singer was the recipient of ITSC Bursaries as individual singers earlier in their singing careers. We are now delighted to welcome them back on stage as Landless.

Pete Shepheard

Pete Shepheard has been involved in the folk song revival since the 1960s. He first came into contact with the riches of traditional song when he was a student at St Andrews University and a member and organiser of the folk club. His contacts with the famed Stewart Family of Blairgowrie and Jeannie Robertson’s family in Aberdeen led to exploration of traveller tradition and extensive song collecting in Scotland, England and Ireland. He was an organiser of the Blairgowrie Festival of Traditional Music and Song in 1966 that led to the forming of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA). His enthusiasm as a singer and collector resulted in the creation of Springthyme Records in 1973 specialising in the release of traditional music and song.

Paddy Cullen and Family

We are delighted that Paddy Cullen will be making the trip to Inishowen from Carrigart in Donegal a little earlier in 2017. Paddy is well known to Festival goers as the singer who traditionally joins us at the final Monday singing session in the Rusty Nail. A fine singer with a wide ranging repertoire, Paddy will be accompanied by family, on this his first trip to the full Singing Weekend.

John Waltham

John from Dorset is no stranger to Inishowen, having a long & illustrious connection with local singers since the early 1990s. A singer, collector and event organiser himself, he has championed local singers from his native area and those from other traditional song communities. John held a close friendship with the late Packie Manus Byrne from Ardara who passed away in 2015 at the age of 98. John will deliver the opening lecture of the festival on this well respected Donegal musician, singer, composer, story teller and entertainer.

Roisin McGrory

Fiddle player Roisin McGrory is the driving force behind the Inishowen Traditional Music Project. Led by Roisin and Clodagh Warnock this project provides teaching and performance opportunities for young Inishowen musicians, and has been instrumental in promoting the playing of local repertoire & maintaining local style. Originally from Burt, Roisin released her debut album in September 2016 ‘The Brae Road’, a collection of music with strong Inishowen and Donegal influences.

Inishowen Traditional Singers’ Circle

Members of the Singers‘ Circle including Bronagh Harkin and Grace Toland will take to the stage for the 2017 concert. The Circle meets the second Friday of the months September to June in either the North Pole Bar or McFeeley‘s Bar.

Cloontagh NS and Rashenny NS, Inishowen

Two local primary schools will take the stage singing songs learned from the Inishowen Song Project. These choirs are made up of local children some of whose parents and grandparents feature in the project. The schools have wholeheartedly taken up our invitation and with support from teachers and parents are a highlight of our Festival.