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A Gaeltacht Gallagher Evening

Gallaghers go Gaelic in Gortahork

Friday night last saw a very large crowd in Ostan Loch Altan Hotel, Gortahork for the gathering of the Gallaghers in North West Donegal. A local committee (see picture) had worked hard to put together a memorable evening's activities.

Noel Johnny Sheáin Ó Gallchóir, the M.C. for the evening started off proceedings by introducing Gearóid Ó Maonaigh, Séamus Ó Cuireáín and Treasa Ní Chaomhanaigh who gave a wonderful exhibition of traditional music-playing. They were to be followed later in the evening by singers Connie Mhary Mhicí Ó Gallchóir from Rann na Feirste and Anna Ní Ghallchóir from Arranmore Island..

Fr. Seán Ó Gallchóir, Chairperson of the Gallagher Clan, introduced the crowd to the operations of that organisation. Its aims, he said, were to collect, conserve and celebrate their heritage and culture. The Clan had begun in 2005, had an evening event in Letterkenny in February 2006 and was holding a worldwide gathering in September 2007. This would be based in Letterkenny but would visit and involve all areas in the county. He asked those present to help by furthering the aims of the organization within their own family circles and by volunteering to assist the committee in their own way. The evening, he said, was an introduction to the rich Gallagher heritage, which included among others a strong presence in the Church and in the area of sport – all over the World.

Collette Ní Ghallchóir and Annie John Ní Ghallchóir recited a number of their own conpositions while Síle B. Ní Ghallchóir recited a piece that Seán Mac Cumhaill composed about the famous Fr. McFadden of Gweedore. . A local dance troupe brought the house down with a stirring show of dancing worthy of Riverdance or Lord of the Dance while two younger members of the community showed that the art of dancing was in good hands for the foreseeable future.

The roots and history of the Gallaghers in Cloghaneely were explored by Barnaí Ó Gallchóir. He discussed their first appearance, their appearance in the various historical sources and finished with some very interesting statistical comparisons.

The audience was treated to the first showing of a DVD on the Gallaghers of Gweedore. This was produced by Dónal Ó Gallchóir and Máire Ni Chnáimhsí, with help from Acadamh na hOllscoile and showed how the Gallaghers are entwined with almost all the families of note in the Gweedore area.

Patrick Boner from Ailt an Chorráin concluded the formal part of the evening with a talk entitled Paddy the Cope, His life and Influence. The Cope, he stated, had started from very small beginnings but had changed the whole economy of North West Donegal and employed three hundred people at one time. Paddy the Cope’s methods had been studied all over the World.

The formal proceedings gave way to argument and discussion late into the night as people explored their own Gallagher heritage and that of the others present..

The organizing committee would like to thank all those who helped in any way to make the evening such an outstanding success especially Joe Gallagher, proprietor of Ostan Loch Altan Hotel.