Mikado biscuit and cuppa in hand, Malin Head’s Ali Farren, launched an appeal for any videos of weddings, céilίs, dances or other social gatherings, lying around the most northerly homes in Ireland.
Speaking to Donegal Now, Ali, who manages Malin Head Community Centre explained the rationale behind his request.
He said: “At this stage, everyone has old videos lying in the bottom drawer of the TV cabinet, wedding videos, like my own, which would have been recorded 20 or 30 years ago. We are now looking to get our hands on these videos, as part of our Heritage 2019 Project. We want to copy them and preserve the songs and recitations from this Parish.
“At all weddings, somebody from the Bride’s family would have got up and sung or performed a recitation and then somebody from the Groom’s family would have got up and done the same.
“Malin Head Heritage Group is trying to preserve those songs and recitations, as well as the film of the performers. People from each locality and especially in Malin Head, probably got up at every wedding and sang the exact same song. So, we are looking to get our hands on the videos, to preserve them for ever more amen. We are going to get the videos copied onto CD or memory pen and then we are going to collate them all together.
“In August, during our Heritage event, we will have a video running showing the various local people doing their turns. One famous recitation around here is by Tom Houghton. It is called, ‘Back Again to Malin Glen’ and was written by a Malin Head man, probably in the 1920s. We have shared it on the Malin Head Community Centre Facebook page,” said Ali.
According to Ali, Malin Head Community Centre has an extremely active Heritage Group, which produces three booklets per year, as well as putting on displays. The booklets are posted to all corners of the World.
Ali added: “We are currently in the middle of our Living History project, were we are encouraging children from the four schools in the parish, to interview their grandparents, gather social history and write an essay. And the grandparents are telling stories, which are amazing the young people.
“Our Heritage Group is very proactively trying to teach young people about our history, as well as trying to preserve it. So far, we have had 41 entries and the stories are brilliant. The prize-giving will take place on Wednesday, April 24 and the Curator of the Donegal Museum will be presenting the awards. “This is usually a lovely night, when grannies and grandas come along and see the stories, which have been written about them, in print. These stories will then be published in the Local Heritage News.
“Malin Head Community Centre is the cornerstone of this Parish. We try to offer something for everybody. Within this centre we run Zumba, yoga and relaxation classes. We are also very lucky to have obtained ETB funding for computer classes and a basket making class. We also offer creative sewing,” said Ali.
Bocan Drama Group are making the journey north the Malin Head Community Centre this week with their current production, “Don’t Tell the Wife” by Sam Cree.
According to Ali, it could give Mrs Brown “a run for her Money.”
He said: “Bocan Drama Group have been coming to Malin Head for the past 10 years. They will be appearing here, as part of their World Tour in Sunday, March 10. Doors open at 7.30pm with curtain up at 8.00pm. This year’s play has been getting rave reviews all over Inishowen and we are looking for a full house. Tickets cost €7 and can be bought at the door.
“I would also encourage Donegal Now readers to get involved in out Annual Photographic Competition, which produces photographs for our world famous Malin Head Calendar. We printed 1,000 last year and they were all sold.
“Ideally, we want good quality, landscape photographs of Malin head. We don’t mind if there are people or animals in them. We just want a good quality photograph that will print well and will show Malin Head of in a good light. Photographs can be emailed to: [email protected]. The Calendar is one of our main fundraisers, as we attempt to reduce the Centre’s €40,000 debt.
“We are also organising a Selfie Hunt, as part of the ‘May the 4th Be With You Festival’ being co-organised this year by Go Visit Inishowen. Malin Head Community Centre is going to be used for a photographic exhibition and hub for all things Star Wars over the festival weekend,” revealed Ali, “as we were one of the locations used in the movie.”
For more information on the ‘May the 4th Be With You Festival’, keep an eye on the Malin Head Community Centre and the Go Visit Inishowen Facebook pages.
As part of the Festival, anyone with an Inishowen related Star Wars photograph with is asked to send a copy to Ali at: [email protected].
He said: “It could be a photograph of a lorry coming down the road. It could be of Daisy Ridley drinking a coffee in Carndonagh. They don’t have to be of Malin Head. Different things were happening throughout Inishowen and if anyone has a photograph they would share, we would like to get a copy. Maybe someone from Malin / Inishowen was at another Star Wars related location or event and took a photograph,” said Ali, “All photographs would be greatly appreciated.”
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.