North West Ireland's Premier Wedding Quartet - Sligo, Donegal, Leitrim and beyond

Donegal Fiddle Weekend

Every October there is an amazing fiddle festival in Glenties, Co. Donegal, based mainly in the Highlands Hotel in the town. This year it will run from Friday through Sunday 1st - 3rd October 2011. What makes the festival special is the emphasis on the fiddle and on the Donegal style, which is quite different and distinctive compared to the relatively homogenous styles and tune traditions of the rest of the country. Add to that the dedication of those who travel to the festival and the natural warmth and character of the local Donegal musicians, and you have a recipe for a weekend of great craic and tremendous music.

The Campbell family (Vincent, Jimmy and Peter) are from out the road, so you can be sure to see them playing there. Whenever I meet them or hear them play, it feels like there is some connection back in time to the olden days of dancing in the kitchen to a pair of fiddlers and drinking tea til the small wee hours, a world which has sadly disappeared. One fiddler who we won’t see there unfortunately is the great James Byrne of Meenacross, Glencolmcille, who passed away three years ago and is greatly missed. His style was typical of the region just south of Glenties, where the fiddle is played as people speak, a little slower but with great character. Here is James playing, appropriately for this blog, The Wedding Jig:

For more information about the Donegal Fiddle Weekend in Glenties, see the website of the organisers, Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí.