Joy Dunlop who used to be a student at this college inspired me to go over to Ireland to the Pan-Celtic festival together with a bunch of students from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. People from the six Celtic nations gather there: Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Isle of Man, Cornwall and Brittany. It wasn’t exactly easy to organise the trip, although a lot of it was done by the Scottish committee at the Pan-Celtic festival. We are very grateful to them and to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig for their support.

Pan-Celtic 07
We went across on a bus together with a group from Lewis. People started singing during the journey already. We went on the ferry at Largs and were indeed all shattered when we got to Letterkenny in Donnegal County at the north-west end of Ireland. The next day we had a rehearsal and it was terrible – everything went wrong! So we kept on practicing. The day after that, we had our first gig in a shopping centre. I think we were all a bit frightened but it went surprisingly well. We were singing the pieces of “puirt-a-beul” (mouth music) which you can listen to down below and also a waulking song (a song that the women working the tweed used to sing) as well as “Cànan nan Gàidheal” (the unofficial anthem of the Scottish Gael). Some were playing instruments (Amy played the accordion, Vicki the tin whistle and bodhran (celtic drum) and Seumas the fiddle and drum). Tara was step-dancing and Andreas and Nina danced a waltz. Liondsaidh, who also was our musical director, sang a song by herself. Nathan was going to recite poetry but the situation wasn’t really suitable.

There was good craic in the pubs all day every day with people singing and playing music. In the evening there were concerts going on: a Scottish night, an Irish and Manx night, a Welsh and Cornish night, and Breton night. We were performing again the next day in the centre of town. Different competitions were taking place and we took part in one that belonged to the Oireachtas festival which was going on at the same time. We had lots of fun and won the second price our competition at what is the Irish “Mòd”. We were very proud about it! We were asked to sing on the radio, too! What a trip! We all hope to go again next year! It will be in Donegall town then, and we were there already to check it out.

It is a pity however that the Pan-Celtic doesn’t travel around all the six Celtic nations! It will be in Ireland every single year. Forever?

Windows PlayerClick the icon to hear the SMO Group at Pan Celtic. They are singing the following Gaelic songs, Dà thabh air an airigh, Innis dhomhsa ca'eil thu 'cadail, Chuirinn air a' phìob.