Packed and exciting festival programme ahead

LAUNCH: Claire Kieran,  Fionnuala Nic Thom and Pól Deeds study the packed festival programme LAUNCH: Claire Kieran, Fionnuala Nic Thom and Pól Deeds study the packed festival programme
By Brónach Ní Thuama

FÉILE An Droichead continues to go from strength to strength. Now in its eighth year, the festival is recognised as one of the highlights of the traditional arts calendar in Belfast.

Based in South Belfast, An Droichead is an Irish language organisation that promotes the development of Irish language and culture through education, arts, family and community services and outreach work.

This year promises to be a festival to remember with a host of top class acts lined up over four days. With an array of diverse events including language classes and sessions, family events and of course An Droichead’s signature top-class traditional music concerts with some of the best international musical talent, there is something for everyone.

Thursday, August 25 in the Ulster Museum brings you Camino Na Sáile – a night of songs, music and stories from Glen Hansard, Brendan Begley and the crew of Naomhóig Na Tinte.

On Friday, August 26 in the Black Box a night of music and live art performances awaits with The Pipes, The Pipes. This evening pays homage to the singular magic of the Irish uillean pipes and will feature a trio of exceptional pipers: Leonard Barry, Maitiú Ó Casaide and John Tuohy.

Also on Friday is Fónaic na Gaeilge – a seminar on phonological awareness in Irish language for adult learners. This event examines the different sounds that occur in Irish language and how awareness of these sounds can help with all aspects of learning and speaking it. The seminar will be delivered bilingually and everyone is welcome.

On Saturday, August 27 the fabulous Altan take to the stage of An Droichead. Altan have played to audiences from Donegal to Tokyo and Seattle. They have always believed that Irish traditional music is a modern music in every sense and its growing influence and popularity have proved them right.

Also on Saturday is Cúrsa Teanga at Féile An Droichead. A comprehensive Irish language package consisting of a range of levels to suit all abilities, from the complete beginner to the fluent speaker. Whether you are a newbie to the language or an avid classgoer this weekend course will not disappoint. Immerse yourself in An Droichead’s wonderful Irish language setting where an Ghaeilge is alive and kicking and part of everyday life at An Droichead.

Sunday, August 28 brings you the album launch of the wonderful and talented Josie Nugent. Josie is an inventive, soul-searching fiddle player. Her album takes the listener on an evocative musical pathway interweaving some of her trad favourites with innovative compositions that connect to her roots, the music of east Clare.

Also on Sunday in Botanic Gardens is the Belfast Mela. An Droichead will be working alongside Arts Ekta to present the best in Irish music, dance and entertainment at their flagship event.

As well as those mentioned above, there are plenty more events to attend at this year’s Féile An Droichead. For further information and to book tickets visit or call 02890 288818.