About the Festival

September 30th – October 16th 2022

Réamhrá | Introduction

This is the 22nd edition of this annual festival, which is presented by Donegal County Council Culture Division in partnership with a range of arts organizations, cultural venues and community groups, largely from the South and South West of the county.

Pre-Festival Concert

A special pre-Festival concert, featuring  longtime member of The Chieftans, Matt Molloy, accompanied by John Carty, takes place in the Abbey Arts Centre on September 24, honouring the memory of much-loved Ballyshannon musician and teacher, Billy Finn.

Folklore in the Landscape

Among the festival highlights will Scéal Loch Finne – a 5km walk, bus tour and concert performance at Edeninfagh Hall, curated by Glenties musician and folklorist Rónán Galvin,  following the trail of the Fianna legend of the Fearghamhain and the Black Pig, from which many placenames in the area of the Glen of Glenties, Baile na Finne and Edeninfagh are derived. 

Places, and the characters associated with them, are also the inspiration for another walk – Ballyshannon’s popular Ballytour living history event, which has been revived by Dark Daughter Productions and Erne Enterprise Development, especially for the festival. 

Frances Browne and the Festival of Europe

Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks is also partnering this year with two other festival initiatives – the Frances Browne Literary Festival in Stranorlar and Ballybofey and the Douzelage Festival of Europe in Bundoran – to co-present a number of ambitious events. Chief among these is a special adaptation of a childrens’ story by Frances Browne, The Tale of Fairyfoot, which will be presented as a promenade performance along the Drumboe Woods walking trail, by Aislingí Dance Academy and Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company. Meanwhile Bundoran’s Festival of Europe will see artists from Donegal, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic gather in the popular seaside town for three days of music making and cultural exchange. 

Choral Delights

The festival is delighted to welcome back the stunning Donegal Voices choral ensemble and their Musical Director, Andrew Batchelor, who will evoke memories of glorious summers past when they perform Elgar’s  From The Bavarian Highlands, in Ballyshannon and Glenties. Returning too are festival favourites the Bluestack Chorale –  with featured singers Deborah Cunningham and Paul Martin – who will entertain and amaze with their atmospheric Songs for and Autumn Evening programme of classic opera and contemporary works. 


In what promises to be one of the most popular events of the festival, literary programme curator Denis Blake has invited two of the most admired personalities in the North West, Easkey Britton and Charlie McGettigan, to join her at the Abbey Arts Centre to talk about their lives and read from their recently published books. Similarly, the Frances Browne Literary Festival committee have invited noted local actor and director Frankie McCafferty to host an interview with Ireland’s Queen of Comedy, Deirdre O’Kane, in Ballybofey.  Deirdre also brings her brilliant new comedy show, Demented, to the Balor Arts Centre. 

New Theatre and Music

Theatre is represented in this year’s programme by the eagerly anticipated visit of New York cabbie with strong Donegal connections, John McDonagh, who brings his acclaimed New York Repertory Theatre show, Off The Meter (On The Record), to the Abbey Arts Centre.  We also welcome London-based actor and theatre maker Miles Mlambo to Donegal, who brings his one-man-show on the life and times of a young Philip Lynott, Dancing In The Moonlight. 

The world premiere of Kate O’Callaghan’s War of Independence-themed Small Behaviours, a suite of songs for voice and string quartet, is also a tantalizing prospect, as are performances by Ye Vagabonds, Annie Keating, Aoife Scott, Johnny Duhan, Marion Bradfield, Paul McIntyre and Meitheal.  In addition, among the featured musicians in the Donegal Fiddlers Glenties Gathering concert  –  now in its 40th. year – will be Ciarán Ó Maonaigh, Aidan O’Donnell, Megan Nic Fhionnghaile, Melanie Houton, Nia Byrne, Neil Kennedy and Conor Caldwell. 


Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival is funded by The Arts Council and Donegal County Council. A number of events on the festival programme have also received assistance from the Donegal Local Live Performance Programme Support Scheme (Phase 4) and from the Creative Ireland Community and Creativity Programme. 


Réamhrá | Introduction

Welcome to the 21st. annual Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival and a tentative return to live theatre, music and literary performances, for the first time in over eighteen months. While last year’s Festival was a totally online affair, this year’s programme of new and revived theatre works, music performances and literary events, may be enjoyed live, in person and safely, in venues in Ballyshannon, Donegal Town and Ballybofey, from Friday, October 1st. to Sunday, October 17th.

The Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival is presented annually by Donegal County Council Culture Division.  It is funded by Donegal County Council in partnership with The Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon.

In that respect, we would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the following –

Ailis McIntyre, Linda Michael Daly, Abbey Arts and Cultural Centre, Ballyshannon. Conor Malone, Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey. Maura Logue, Dark Daughter Productions. Denise Blake, Literary Programme Curator. Margaret Hannon. Shirley Anne Bonner. Celine McGlynn, Leah Fairman and the Frances Browne Literary Festival Committee. Patricia McBride, An Grianán Theatre. Rab Cherry, Cairdeas na bhFidléirí. Deborah Cunningham, Mountcharles Opera Festival. Keith Mannion, Patsy O’Kane. Roseanne Lynch, Darn Skippy. John Travers, Ballyshannon Drama Society. Kieran Quinn, Hillary Scanlan, Caroline Bell, Balor DCA/Balor Rep Theatre Company. Craobh Phil Rooney Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann. Caoimhín MacAoidh. Dean Maywood, Ghostlight Sessions, Balor Arts Centre.

Mary Crawford, The Right Angle PR. Frances Friel, Donegal County Council Communications Officer. Máire Ní Fhearraigh, Tourism Unit, Donegal County Council. Karen Sheehy, Donegal County Council Culture Division/County Library. Tommy Callaghan, Manna Design.