Celtic nations to converge on city

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The organisers of the 44th International Pan Celtic Festival have revealed a jam-packed programme of events for the whole family between the April 7 and 12 in what will be the second consecutive year it is hosted by Londonderry.

The festival, which is organized by Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin and supported through the Derry City Council legacy programme, is a celebration of Celtic culture and will attract visitors from the Celtic nations of Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man.

Mayor, Brenda Stevenson, said: “I am delighted to see the return of the Pan Celtic Festival to the city for its second visit.

“This event attracts the cream of performers from the Celtic nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man to our city, and is a wonderful addition to our events calendar this year.

“I’m particularly impressed by the programme of events, which will be a big attraction for families and tourists alike.”

One of the biggest attractions at the festival will no doubt be the Parade of Nations on Saturday, April 11, which last year was hailed as a cross-community success, including participation by pipe bands from both traditions.

Also taking part in the parade will be the world-famous Armagh Rhymers, whose uniquely Irish mumming tradition has brought them to international stages such as Glastonbury festival.

They will conclude the Parade of Nations with an open-air performance in Guildhall Square.

The festival will be officially opened on Tuesday, April 7 at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in a ceremony that will display the culture and traditions of each of the participating nations.

Chairperson of the festival, Gearóid Ó hEára said: “We are proud to bring a world-class selection of performers from across the Celtic nations for the festival, and look forward to them performing across the city during Easter week.

“Audiences will be impressed by the diversity of entertainment we have in store, and the visitors from the Celtic nations will provide street entertainment throughout the week, contributing to the typical festive atmosphere that has become a trademark of the city.”

For those interested in the learning about the links and nuances between the Celtic languages, an extensive language programme has been devised, including free taster courses and lectures throughout the week in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin.

The backbone of the festival is a series of cultural competitions, with one of the highlight events being the Pan Celtic Song Contest on Thursday, April 9, which attracts an eclectic mix of entries from each nation of newly composed songs across a range of genres.

Londonderry audiences will also be treated to a selection of outstanding Celtic choirs, who will perform in a special concert in Christ Church on Friday, April 10.

Each night from Wednesday, April 8 to Saturday, April 11 a different nation will host the Festival Club in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin’s newest venue, the Glassworks. Everyone is welcome to attend these nights of singing, dancing and plenty of craic.

Tickets for individual events can be purchased online at www.culturlann-doire.ie or through the Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin box office. For more information on the festival, visit www.panceltic.ie or call +44 (0)2871 264 132.