The majestic Donegal Castle provided the stunning setting for the launch of Wainfest 2017 where elected members, council staff, Mayor of Donegal Town and special guests from Scoil Aodh Rua agus Nuala along with children’s author Shane Hegarty celebrated what is set to be the best Wainfest yet.
Celebrating 21 years of Wainfest, Cathaoirleach Cllr Gerry McMonagle said that he was delighted to be marking the beginning of an exciting week-long festival of drama, storytelling, music, dance, theatre, film, reading and science for children.
He thanked the special guests from 4th, 5th and 6th class from Scoil Aodh Rua agus Nuala for making the event extra special.
Speaking at the launch, Cllr McMonagle said “I am absolutely delighted to be here this morning in Donegal Castle to launch the Wainfest festival. It is great to start the day in the presence of so many smiling faces on an occasion that marks the start of a very special event.
“Today we mark the beginning of an exciting weeklong festival of drama, storytelling, music, dance, theatre, film, reading and science for children. I am delighted to be in the company of the pupils from Scoil Aodh Rua agus Nuala.”
“I know this festival, which is celebrating its 21st year today, is well established as a major focus for Donegal County Council’s Cultural Services which comprises Libraries, Arts, Museums and Archives and Heritage Services. In browsing through the brochure I am struck by the number of events, over 100 activities will take place in libraries, the Regional Cultural Centre, the Museum and a range of other venues. I have no doubt that the festival will leave a lasting impression on the thousands of young children who will attend these events across Donegal in October”.
“One event I am delighted to see in the programme is the Lottie and Friends event by the very successful Donegal-based Lottie Doll Company. As I understand it Arklu, the company behind Lottie Dolls, approached the Library Service to enquire how they could be part of this great festival. This is testament to the success of Wainfest and its growing brand.
This partnership approach with local businesses is another great dimension for the festival and I see an event with local celebrity chef Kieran Duey of the award winning Nancy’s Barn in Ballyliffin is also included in the programme. As a Council we are committed to promoting sustainable economic development and job creation so I applaud the Library Service for developing these partnerships with small businesses.”
The Cathaoirleach added he wanted Donegal’s reputation as a leader in culture and cultural services at local authority level to be strengthened by our commitment to its development and we have set out a comprehensive strategic plan that will seek to maintain high quality sustainable services and a collaborative partnership approach is key for the delivery of our shared cultural goals.
Wainfest provides a great opportunity to promote interest in children’s reading and to create an awareness of the value of reading.
Donna Cavanagh Senior Librarian with Donegal Library Services describes literacy is an important life-skill which encourages learning and social and economic participation.
In fact reading for pleasure has been found to be more important in children’s successes than education and social class. Wainfest is a major element of the Council’s Right to Read Plan.
“Books, reading and literacy are highly profiled in Wainfest and I am delighted that we are able to bring authors of Shane Hegarty’s calibre to Donegal as part of the Wainfest programme. Shane is an Irish children’s author who has written the very successful Darkmouth series and rumours have it that one of his books is to be made into a Hollywood movie. So it is great for the children of Donegal to have the opportunity to meet their hero.”
Donna added “I am proud of the fact that we have organised 119 events across 34 venues and that thousands of children will be laughing, dancing, listening, making and learning during the 8 days of Wainfest. We have expanded the programme to include 31 family events so that mums and dads can experience the magic that is Wainfest. Unleash the Magic is our theme this year and that’s what we plan to do with our stimulating, entertaining and diverse programme.”
Wainfest will take place from 7 to 15 October and while most of the events are free booking in advance is essential to avoid disappointment. For more information on Wainfest visit www.wainfest.ieTags: