THE first ‘Ghosts in the Glens Festival’ organised by Antrim Glens Tourism was a resounding success.
Having received support from Moyle District Council and DCAL under the festivals fund the group still required a lot of local support to make the event happen.
Businesses and individuals in the Glens rallied round providing both in-kind support such as accommodation and food for visiting storytellers and
financial donations. The website www.ghostsinthglens.com was donated by Glens Computers so that there is a long term presence on the web upon which to build.
Local schools entered the creative writing competition and the winning stories have been posted on the website for all to see.
The ghost trail round local businesses provided an interest for the whole of the week after the festival.
The aim of the festival was to attract visitors to the area and also to give locals people a chance to sample a range of storytelling and music for all the family,
Over the weekend audiences included people from Germany, Switzerland, Argentina, Brazil and the United States as well as visitors from all over Ireland and England.
Festival Director Liz Weir was interviewed by Ronan Lundy on BBC Radio Ulster’s Your Place and Mine programme which led to more people attending events.
Important local partnerships were forged - the ceili organised by the Glens Comhaltas saw storytelling interwoven with traditional music and dancing.
On the Sunday morning members of the Walk the Glens group led over 60 people round the Glenariff waterfalls with stories told along the way by visiting storyteller Steve Lally. A native of Kildare, Steve charmed all ages with his spooky tales.
Kate Corkery told tales in Cushendall Library in a very successful event held in partnership with LibrariesNI and Kate Murphy from Portrush and Rod Dimbleby from Yorkshire shared tales for older folk in Knockmoy Fold.
Cushendall Boating and Sailing Club provided a wonderful setting for the children’s Spooktacular Happening, attended by Sandra Hunter Chair of Moyle Council.
There were impromptu story swaps and a ghost story workshop to develop storytelling skills as well as a big evening concert in Cushendall Parish Centre. This featured singer songwriter Ben Sands as well as local singer and storyteller Feargal Lynn.
Miss Paula Flynn from Forkhill brought the festival to a close during an informal evening of music, song and story at Ballyeamon Barn.
Chairman of Moyle District Council, Cllr Sandra Hunter, said: “Ghosts in the Glens is a new festival of storytelling and music by the Antrim Glens Tourism, which was supported by Moyle District Council. This was a fantastic new event enjoyed over the weekend by all age groups, young and old alike. When I attended there were ‘critters’ of all sorts listening to the kids spooktacular happenings, which were highly entertaining. A credit to all who helped organise, and a must for all folks to attend next year”.
Donnell O’Loan, Chairman of Antrim Glens Tourism, congratulated Liz Weir the Festival Director on a very enjoyable and successful weekend of story-telling and music.
Liz and her team had organised a series of events with something for all age-groups which was certainly enjoyed by locals and visitors who had come especially for the festival.
Wonderful story-tellers and musicians had travelled from near and far to the Heart of the Glens and they had told him how much they had enjoyed being part of the first Ghosts in the Glens Festival.
Donnell thanked Moyle Council and local businesses for their generous support and said that the success of the Festival guaranteed that it would continue in future years.
Festival Director Liz Weir said: “Despite the small budget available, the Ghosts in the Glens Festival had a huge impact locally and there is now a firm foundation upon which to build to create a lively annual event attracting visitors to an area which is rich in folklore and thus lends itself to such an event. This is only the beginning.”
* Children’s spooky story competition winners: 1. Clodagh McGinley ‘The Creepy Cottage’, St Mary’s Cushendall; 2. Seanie McIntosh, ‘Lurig Lumberjack’, St Patrick’s Glenariff; 3. James McNeill ‘Trick or Treat’ St. Ciaran’s PS, Cushendun.
Honourable Mention - Joe McCloskey, St Mary’s Cushendall.
Older: 1. Harry McKillop ‘The Forest Awakens’, St Mary’s Cushendall; 2. Lauren McQuillan ‘The Old Oak Tree’, St Mary’s Cargan; 3. Declan McGill ‘Ghost of the Glens’ Glenann; 4. Thomas McVeigh ‘One Halloween Night’, Carnlough IPS.