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It's a Fine Thing to Sing

A 60 min documentary film


Doors Open: 20:00
Show Starts: 20:30

Three years ago, Dublin-based filmmaker Bob Gallagher, described as a ‘good soldier of cinema’ by Werner Herzog, contacted the Inishowen Traditional Singers’ Circle (ITSC). Bob, also a singer with Inishowen connections, was interested in learning more about songs and singers from the Co. Donegal peninsula. 

The Singer’s Circle traces its history back to the 1980s; there was a recognition of an oral tradition on the peninsula that had withstood, to quote from their website (, “…the erosion caused by radio, television and recorded music”. This tradition “…embodies the history, music, language, social habits and humour of past generations – the intangible cultural heritage of the Inishowen Peninsula.” There was a fear that the unaccompanied song tradition was endangered, especially among older singers.

Spurred on by the actions of Dr Tom Munnelly of the National Folklore Collection based in University College Dublin, the Inishowen Traditional Singers’ Circle was formed in 1988 by local Buncrana school teacher originally from Gaoth Dobhair, Jimmy McBride. They held their first seminar in 1990, the opening lecture for which was presented annually by Tom Munnelly until his death in 2007.

During the lockdown, Bob Gallagher created a number of short films for the 2021 festival, which was forced to revert to streaming online. To quote them, it was from this point that the “ITSC stepped into the world of filmmaking guided by Bob’s unique vision.”

The 60-minute documentary features Ian Lynch (Lankum), Ye Vagabonds and The Henry Girls arranging and singing six songs from Clonmany and Buncrana singers: Roseanne McGonigle, Dan McGonigle, Mary Ann Canny, Corney McDaid, and a visitor to Inishowen, Ardara singer Packie Manus Byrne. The recordings are framed within  Inishowen’s stunning landscape, interwoven with atmospheric archival recordings of the original singers and interviews with contemporary members of the Inishowen song community.


Film Info:

Genre – Documentary

Release Date - July 15, 2023 (Ireland)

Country of Origin - Ireland

Language - English

Filming Locations - Donegal, Ireland(main location)

Production Companies - Homebird Productions & Wonderbread

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