Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival 2019 photoslider


19th Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival 


The Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival is an initiative of Donegal County Council, supported by The Arts Council and Creative Ireland.  Running from Thursday, September 26th  to Sunday, October 6th, the event, now in its 19th year, is set to support artists and engage communities throughout South and South West Donegal, with another packed programme of theatre, music of all kinds, 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, showcasing Donegal’s rugged beauty, its culture and heritage, food, business and innovation. See the full Donegal Connect programme on



Opening Weekend Theatre with Jon Kenny, Seamus O’Rourke and Dark Daughter.

The Festival opens with Jon Kenny’s fabulous new show, ‘Crowman’, at the Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, on Thursday, September 26. Written specially for Jon by Cork playwright Katie Holly, the show has just completed a successful three night run at Dublin’s famed Olympia Theatre.


There are more treats in store for theatre and comedy lovers on Friday night, September 27 when the brilliant Seamus O’Rourke – of RTE Radio’s Countrywide and The Live Line’s Funny Fridays fame - brings his ‘A Sideways View’ show to the Bluestack Centre at Drimarone, Letterbarrow. Also on Friday night, this time at the Atlantic Aparthotel in Bundoran, Dark Daughter Productions present’s the opening night of Maura Logue’s new play, set in 1960s South West Donegal, ‘The Housekeeper’.



Opening Weekend Music with In Their Thousands and Slow Place Like Home

The Festival is delighted to open its music programme this year with a very special double bill featuring top Donegal band In Their Thousands - riding the crest of a wave with the release of their excellent Acrasia CD - and Lemoncello, a fabulous cello, guitar and vocals duo featuring Claire Kinsella of the well known Kinsella/McGinley family of Letterkenny and Raphoe. You can catch this musical double treat at the Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, on Friday night, September 27.

Keith Mannion’s Slow Place Like Home tops the bill at the inaugural Underground Original night at the Atlantic Aparthotel, Bundoran on Saturday night, September 28, on what will be a proper night of dance music with specially created visuals. The bill also includes Alan Finan, Michael Liston’s Nowonos project and The Cantinitas.  



Traditional and Choral Music with Billy Finn Sessions and The Bluestack Chorale

The Billy Finn Sessions concert at the Abbey Arts Centre, Ballyshannon on Saturday night, September 28, hosted by the Phil Rooney branch of Comhaltas Cheoltóirí Éireann, will feature Roscommon flute playing legend Patsy Hanly and Leitrim piper Brian McNamara,as well as local singer Shauna Mullin and musicians Caoimhín Mac Aoidh and Dáire Gallagher.


Also on Saturday night, September 28, in the wonderful autumnal surroundings of Harvey’s Point Hotel, Lough Eske, the sublime Bluestack Chorale will present Songs for An Autumn Evening, bringing their audience on a magical journey from operatic favourites, though swing-time Americana, to new arrangements of best-loved Irish traditional songs.    



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.  We are delighted too that our Carnival partners in the ESB and Irish Water, will again offer science workshops and tours at Cathaleen’s Fall hydro electric power station for primary and second level school students. The Coming Home Carnival Parade takes place in Ballyshannon on the night of Saturday, October 5.

Further Information on Carnival and the ESB Workshops is via Erne Enterprise Development Company Ltd. T: 071 9852822. 



Further Choral Highlights with Donegal Voices

Following their powerful performances of Handel’s Coronation Anthems and The Hallellujah Chorus last year, the Festival is delighted to host once again the wonderful Donegal Voices ensemble, who this year will perform Joseph Haydn’s masterpiece, The Nelson Mass, in Ballyshannon and Stranorlar, on Friday and Sunday, October 4th. and 6th



RTÉ Radio 1 Sunday Miscellany

RTE Radio 1’s iconic Sunday Miscellany progrmme makes a welcome return to the Festival this year. Two editions of the programme will be recorded at the Abbey Arts Centre on Sunday afternoon, October 6. Featured writers and performers will include Little John Nee, Olive Travers, Denise Blake, Brian Leyden, Gerard Beirne, Tara Connaghan and Ellie Nic Fhionnghaile, Hatchlings, Conor and Michael Murray, and Sarah E. Cullen.



Full Festival Programme.

For further Festival Information, the complete Festival Programme is now available on and on Facebook at f: BlueStacksFestival

The Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival is presented by Donegal County Council Culture Division, with assistance from The Arts Council, Donegal County Council and Creative Ireland.



Information: Donegal County Council Arts Office T: 074 9163832  E: 










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