The Inshowen contingent of the Donegal County Council's Ceol le Chéile (Choir of Ages). L-R: Cllr Seamus O'Domhnaill (Cathaoirleach, Donegal County Council), Christine Carlin (Redcastle), Veronica McCarron (Musical Director), Bríd Ewing (Newtowncunningham), and Eileen Farrelly (Moville). Absent from the photograph is Anna Connolly (Moville).

The Inishowen contingent of Ceol le Chéile, Donegal County Council’s Choir of Ages was “over the moon” at the choir’s success in the Pride of Place Awards held recently in Cork City Hall.

There are four Ceol le Chéile members from the peninsula: Christine Carlin (Redcastle); Eileen Farrelly (Moville); Anna Connelly (Moville); and Bríd Ewing (Newtowncunningham).

Speaking to Donegal Now  following the glitzy awards ceremony, a delighted Christine Carlin said: “The Inishowen contingent of Ceol le Chéile was over the moon, delighted and proud that the choir was honoured at the Pride of Place Awards. We were runners up in the ‘Health and Wellbeing” category.

“The inspirational choir, Ceol le Chéile is Donegal’s first ever inter-generational choir. Ceol le Chéile means ‘Coming Together’, which is exactly what the choir does. We have more than 100 participants, with older people aged up to 90 and children aged 7 to 12.”

The popular choir is currently putting the final touches to its Christmas repertoire, under its “inspirational” Choral Director Veronica McCarron.

Donegal County Council’s Social Inclusion Co-ordinator said the impact Ceol le Chéile has had on everyone involved since it first formed earlier this year was amazing.

She added: We knew music was a wonderful and uplifting way of bringing people together but since the first rehearsal we have seen first-hand the benefits that the choir has had in terms of the mental and emotional well being of those involved and their families and it is also a great opportunity for building positive relations between children and older people.

“We are delighted that rehearsals for the choir will be continuing up until Christmas.

“Ceol le Chéile is led by charismatic, Choral Director, Veronica McCarron. Veronica memorably led the Choir of the Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny, to the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2016.

“We have been very fortunate to have Veronica McCarron working with us on this project.  Veronica’s professional conducting includes voice training, breathing techniques, elocution lessons, choreography and building the confidence to sing in front of others and this is done in weekly rehearsals,” explained Mairead.

Anyone interested in joining the choir should contact [email protected] or  [email protected].

Healthy Ireland, Donegal County Council, Local Links Bus, Creative Ireland kindly fund this initiative with valuable support from the Regional Cultural Centre, Donegal Library Service and LYIT.

800 community heroes from across Ireland attended the Pride of Place Awards.

The annual competition, described as the ‘Oscars of the Community Sector’, celebrated the often-unsung work of community groups that selflessly work to make local neighbourhoods a better place to live in, work in or visit.

Organised by Co-Operation Ireland and sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place awards sees the country’s local authorities, on both sides of the border, nominate outstanding projects that contribute to civic pride.

Expressing his delight, Tom Dowling, Chairperson of Pride of Place, said: “After 16 years the competition continues to embed itself in the very heart of the Island of Ireland’s communities and gives them the opportunity to highlight the proud and amazing achievements of their place directly to the judges.

“I wish them continued success and we are all looking forward to meeting all the nominated groups for a great night in the wonderful exciting city of Cork.”

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