Guinness World Records attempt in Donegal gets officially underway

They say a photograph tells a thousand words.

So be it.

Here are some photos (and videos) that capture the uplifting essential community spirit for what I hope – with the help of a support team of organisers, dancers, writers, singers and musicians, particularly fiddle-players – will set six (6) new GuinnessWorldRecords on New Year’s Eve in the Donegal Gaeltacht under the theme ‘Fiddles and Faeries.’ 

Many thanks go to many people. 

To Mary Coyle, the ever-patient, highly-skilled and committed manager of Ionad Naomh Padraig, who took a chance on me, and was the perfect hostess for last Friday’s soft launch of our upcoming world record Event.  

To all volunteers, including my wife, Columbia from Transylvania who elegantly read the classic poem ‘The Faeries’ by William Allingham, and Castlewellan-born Maggie McKinney, Donegal’s leading hypnotherapist now living in Killult, in the Donegal Gaeltacht who worked her charm on invited guests. 

I’d also like to thank all the performers including – 

Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Noel Lenaghan

Martin Crossin, renown uilleann piper maker and player and his partner, harpist, Mary Crossin, musician and teacher.

Fiddle player Tara Connaghan, former curator, Clann agus Cairde Series at The Séamus Ennis Arts Centre and Deis Adviser at the Arts Council Ireland 

Theresa Kavanagh composer, fiddle player and music teacher, and Sinead McGinley, who organized the wonderful traditional musicians, aged from 7 to 14, from Comhaltas Cloughaneely.

Versatile Donegal poet, Colette Gallagher who has written several books of poetry as Gaeilge agus as Bearla.

Frank and Eileen Sweeney, award-winning sean nos dancers par excellence from Falcarragh.

And last but certainly not least – Donegal-based Sliabh Liag Distillers  The Crolly Distillery  and Gallagher’s Foodstore in Bunbeg for the generous gifts of their delectable products as door prizes on the evening.

Published by HillenSean

Sean John Hillen has been journalist, editor, publisher, media trainer and public speaker for more than thirty years. Born in west Belfast, he worked for various national newspapers there, including the Belfast Telegraph as well as the BBC, and in Dublin for The Irish Times, before emigrating to the United States to work at the United Nations Media Center in New York. From there Sean moved to the Midwest to work in print and broadcast media, including news correspondent for Scripps Howard Broadcasting, now an NBC-affiliate, and as general and then health correspondent for The Kansas City Times (interestingly, here, Sean held the same editorial position as did Ernest Hemingway – aka night crime/murder reporter). Over the years, Sean’s work has appeared in many other publications including Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal, as well as the American Medical News, the national newspaper of the American Medical Association in Chicago and American Nurse, magazine of the American Nurses Association. Sean won many regional and national journalism awards before leaving the US for post-Communist Eastern Europe, immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990 to establish the first journalism schools, working with agencies such as the United Nations Development Fund and the US Agency for International Development. He became foreign correspondent for The Times and The Daily Telegraph, London, the largest circulation broadsheet newspapers in the UK, before founding his own national publishing and events company in Bucharest, Romania, for 15 years, employing a full-time staff of more than 30. He was elected chairperson of the US Fulbright Commission in Romania for a number of years and received national awards from the President of Romania, Traian Basescu, for launching the nation’s first-ever Corporate Citizen, Civic Journalism & Community Service Awards. Sean now lives in Donegal in picturesque northwest Ireland with his Transylvanian-born wife, Columbia, and two sheepdogs, Siog and Lugh, where he follows a journalism and writing career, as well as being a media and writing skills coach (Fios and Ireland Writing Retreat) He is a published author – with non-fiction books on journalism and media training and an informative, light-hearted, intra-country travelogue entitled ‘Digging for Dracula.’ Sean’s writings can be found locally on Donegal News and in The Irish Times Travel magazine, and

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