Legendary Gaoth Dobhair band Clannad is in line to be honoured with the ‘Freedom of the County’ from Donegal County Council.
Cllr Micheál Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig has put forward a motion to the council to award the county’s highest honour to the Grammy-winning band in their final year.
The award will recognise Clannad’s enormous contribution to our culture, the promotion of our Irish language and our traditional Irish music both nationally and internationally.
Clannad was formed in 1970 by siblings Moya, Ciarán and Pól Brennan and their uncles Noel and Pádraig Duggan (who sadly passed away in 2016), and for a short time later became a six-piece with the addition of Enya Brennan who then went on to have her own successful solo career.
Donegal County Councillors will consider the proposal at a plenary meeting in Lifford on Monday.
Speaking to Donegal Daily ahead of the meeting, Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig said he hopes that councillors will support the motion with pride.
Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig has close family ties to the band.
He said: “For me, as a family member of Clannad, I am extremely proud of their achievements, not alone in terms of music, they put Donegal and Ireland on the map.
“They never shone away from who they were, they carried themselves as proud Donegal people but were very humble. At all opportunities, they used their music to promote what is very dear to us, our native language. They also played a central part in modernising Irish traditional music.
“I’d like to take the opportunity to think about the twins, Noel agus Pádraig, who are no longer with us. Noel was my sister’s godfather.
“My uncle Hughie, who was a councillor, was the one who came up with the name Clannad – Clann as Dobhar. My father Colm William was a roadie who toured Europe with them.”
Clannad is currently on their farewell tour, celebrating their catalogue of music. Their last shows will be played across the States in autumn.
Over 50 years, the multi-award-winning band took Irish music and the Irish language to a worldwide audience.
Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig said he is extremely proud to be in the position of councillor to propose the honour for the band.
“I’d like to thank Cllr Noreen McGarvey who will be seconding this motion. And I look forward to, if I’m lucky enough to get reelected in the next year, to do the same for Enya.”
Clannad’s many achievements make them one of the most successful and acclaimed soundtrack artists.
Fusing elements of traditional Irish music and more contemporary folk, new age and rock, Clannad created a beautifully unique and ethereal sound which combines haunting melodies and mesmerising vocals to transcend the sands of time whilst appealing to a worldwide audience of all ages.
After a decade which saw them release five hugely influential and groundbreaking albums, in 1982 Clannad reached wider recognition when they recorded Theme From Harry’s Game for a powerful three-part TV drama depicting the troubles in Northern Ireland. The song became a commercial success upon its release as a single, peaking at number 2 in Ireland and number 5 in the UK, winning an Ivor Novello award and later being used in the movie Patriot Games. It remains the only UK hit single to be sung entirely in Irish.
In addition to the incredible achievements of this one, timeless song, in 1984 Clannad won a BAFTA for ‘Best Original Television Music’ for their soundtrack ‘Legend’.
In the two decades since the band has won a Grammy Award (‘Best New Age Album’ for 1999’s Landmarks), Billboard Music Award, and a BBC 2 Folk Award (for Lifetime Achievement).
Other recipients of the Freedom of County Donegal include Paul McGinley, Phil Coulter, Daniel O’Donnell, Patsy McGonagle, Shay Given, Packie Bonner, 28th Infantry Battalion, Anthony Molloy, Seamus Coleman and Danny McDaid.