Local History by Seán Beattie


Press Release – Macklin School

Press Release 2013

Charles Macklin Autumn School

Culdaff, Co. Donegal

Thursday 10 October – Sunday 13 October 2013

The 24th Charles Macklin Autumn School will be opened by Martin Reilly, Mayor of Derry at 7 pm on Thursday 10 October in McGrory’s, Culdaff. This year Macklin is in partnership with the City of Culture. Following the official opening, there will be a book launch featuring a new publication by historian Seán Beattie, entitled DONEGAL IN TRANSITION – THE IMPACT OF THE CONGESTED DISTRICTS BOARD, which is published  by Merrion, an imprint of Irish Academic Press, Dublin. Refreshments and a musical entertainment by Inishowen musicians and singers will bring the opening evening to a close. Readings from the new book will be given by the author in McGrory’s on Friday lunchtime.

Storytelling has been part of life in Donegal for generations and Patsy O’Hagan, accompanied by musician Paddy McCartney, will regale audiences in the three local bars at different times over the weekend. Dessie McCallion will take visitors on a heritage walk on Saturday morning. There will be an antiquarian book sale on Sunday morning.

Music lovers are well served during the weekend, commencing with a concert led by supremo guitarist Carl Verheyen on Friday night in McGrory’s. For lovers of classical music, the da Capo group present a selection of their repertoire in St Boden’s church on Sunday.

Poetry is always a popular element of the Macklin week-end. Belfast poet and writer Mauraeen Boyle presents a workshop on Saturday morning and Queen’s Writer-in-Residence Malachi Doherty will help students develop their memoir writing skills in the afternoon. Both writers will read from their work in St. Boden’s church when prizes for the poetry competition will be awarded.

For a feast of folklore, drama and audio-visuals, the production of The Last of the Name is expected to draw a large audience following a sell-out performance in Sandino’s in Derry recently. Gary Jermyn and Michael James Ford will entertain visitors with their hilarious performance Macklin Method and Madness on Saturday evening.

The art exhibition, to be opened by Joe Mahon of Lesser Spotted Ulster, will feature the talented landscape artist and craftworker, Willie Doran who resided in the village. This is also an opportunity for all Dorans to get together as part of The Gathering.

A later addition to the weekend will be a double bill in the Waterside Theatre in Derry when Macklin Method and Madness will be performed along with Brian Friel’s adaptation of Macklin’s play THE LONDON VERTIGO. The Waterside plays are part of a programme “From Macklin to Friel” highlighting the literary lineage of Inishowen. The plays are listed for Wednesday October 30th at 8 pm

For bookings for all events and workshops see charlesmacklin.ie.

The opening of a magnificent viewing platform connected with the Amazing Grace story was performed today at Buncrana followed by a reception at the Beach House Restaurant. Deputy First Minister McGuinness opened the facility which has some fine story boards in full colour depicting Newtown’s adventures in Lough Swilly. It is part of a larger linear walking area along the shore front in which the town council will explore and promote the heritage of the town. IDP has been generous with funding. The town has a great future in heritage tourism as some prime sites and buildings remain undiscovered. Look at Buncrana castle (in private hands), Swan’s mill and the great history of textiles which deserves a  museum in its own right. The monuments near Castle Bridge are a fine example of how to raise public awareness about historic figures associated with the town.

Unfortunately, the great family history of the Vaughans remains a closed book as far as the town is concerned but hopefully this too will get its rightful place in the story of this community which this year celebrates the 400th anniversary of its town charter.

Among the interesting guests I met was 31-year old Rev. Stewart Glendinning who will minister to the  Presbyterian community having been ordained a mere three weeks ago. His ordination was a first – in several ways. It too place in the hall of Carndonagh Community School as there was no Presbyterian venue large enough to hold the  400 guests who attended.He was also installed on the same day. He holds a degree from QUB in chemical engineering. I recalled that one of his predecessors in Buncrana lectured in Greek and Hebrew in Magee Presbyterian College in Derry, now part of University of Ulster. We wish him well in his challenging post.

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