Appeal for new volunteers as Feis Dhún Geanainn faces ‘crisis’

Proud parents and teachers enjoy the performance at a previous Feis Dhun Geanainn competition
Proud parents and teachers enjoy the performance at a previous Feis Dhun Geanainn competition

The organisers of the long running Feis Dhún Geanainn have made an urgent appeal for volunteers to help the event continue.

Generations of children have taken their first tentative steps in the art of performing through the Feis, which has been held in the modern Des Fox Pavillion in Edendork in recent years.

But the tradition could be at risk of continuing if new volunteers to the committee are not found.

Spokesperson, Móna Uí Dhochartaigh, has issued a heartfelt plea to anyone interested in lending their time to the Feis to come forward.

“For as long as I can remember the Feis has been an integral part of life in Dungannon and surrounding areas, especially for the school children who love the opportunity of leaving the classroom to display their talents on stage. “, said Móna.

“As a child I took part in the feis every year, and was delighted when my own children loved it as much as I had done.”

Móna warned the Feis faces a “crisis” and invited new volunteers to the organisation’s AGM on Thursday 12 November at 7pm in Dungannon’s Ranfurly Arts Centre.

“We urgently need some new people to volunteer to sit on the committee, to ensure that the feis can continue”, said Móna.

“All volunteers will be welcomed with open arms, regardless of age, gender, nationality, religion, sexuality, political opinion, marital status, disability or caring responsibilities. Your help is very much needed!”

As she launched her search for new committee members to help the Feis tradition continue, Móna paid tribute to those who had fostered the organisation over the years.

“It was always so great that the feis personalities remained the same for years – we all remember the dedicated Art Mc Caughey and Frankie Comac, two of the feis’s most stalwart supporters and life-long committee members”, she said.

Reflecting on the success of this year’s event, Mona continued: “Children love the opportunity to perform and to get a flavour of Gaelic music, literature and language and while winning a prize would be good, it is not necessary for a child to win to enjoy the experience. This year, over 3,700 children entered the Feis and had the opportunity to showcase their talents in a wide range of competitions. Sadly, there is a possibility that all this may soon end if more volunteers are not found urgently.”

Mona insists the Feis will continue for at least the coming year, there is uncertainty about its long-term future as numbers of committee members dwindle due to growing family commitments, as well as retirement.