September 26th – October 6th 2019

Presented by Donegal County Culture Division


This is the 19th year of the Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival. We are delighted to support artists and engage communities throughout South and South West Donegal with another packed programme of theatre, music, spectacle, and literary events. We are particularly happy this year to be associated with the inaugural Donegal Connect initiative, ten days of special events for returning members of the Donegal Diaspora. See the full Donegal Connect programme on

New Theatre

The Festival has excelled in recent years as a platform for showcasing new drama in the county. This year, we have two more new works to engage and entertain our audiences – actor and playwright Maura Logue’s new play, The Housekeeper, set in 1960s South West Donegal and the Balor Rep’s presentation of Martin Jim McFadden’s autobiographical drama, Don’t Go There. We are also thrilled to host new shows by two of Ireland’s finest comic actors – Jon Kenny in Katie Holly’s brilliant Crowman and Kevin McAleer in his own inimitable creation, Guru. Donegal Drama Circle’s 19th show for the Festival is a production of David Mamet’s China Doll.

Get Involved in Carnival

This year’s Carnival Project takes place in association with the Donegal Connect initiative. Under the title Coming Home, it will celebrate Donegal’s Diaspora by offering visitors the opportunity to dress up in carnival costume and participate in the Parade on the night. Carnival partners – the ESB and Irish Water – will offer science workshops and tours at Cathaleen’s Fall hydro electric power station, Ballyshannon, for primary and second level school students. See p9 for booking details.


This year’s music programme is one of the Festival’s strongest yet. Audiences will thrill to the contemporary sounds of In Their Thousands, The Henry Girls, Slow Place Like Home, Lemoncello, Pine The Pilcrow and Session Americana, while the traditional programme is no less exceptional and features the likes of Patsy Hanly, Roisín McGrory, Tara Connaghan, Steve Cooney, Peter Campbell, Ellie Nic Fhionnghaile, Claire Friel, Shauna Mullin, Brian McNamara, Mick Brown and Stewart Hardy.

Choral Highlights

We welcome back also the operatic stylings of The Bluestack Chorale and the wonderful Donegal Voices ensemble, who this year will perform Joseph Haydn’s masterpiece, The Nelson Mass, in Ballyshannon and Stranorlar.

RTÉ Radio 1 Sunday Miscellany

RTE Radio 1’s iconic Sunday Miscellany programme makes a welcome return to the Festival this year. Two editions of the programme will be recorded at the Abbey Arts Centre on Sunday, October 6.

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