Feis Dhun Dealgain takes place in The Fairway's Hotel, Conference Centre this coming weekend, on Saturday from 12 noon to 7pm, and on Sunday from 9am to approximately 7pm.
The Festival began in 1997, with about 350 competitors from the Dundalk area. It is now in it's 16th year with competitor's of 435 in solo competitions, and up to 300 students competing in the group competitions.
Most of the competitors in the Feis are from Blackrock, Haggardstown, and different schools in Dundalk and all of the local of the secondary schools are represented this year. Pupils from other Speech & Drama school are also participating and as well a drama group from Enniskillen.
The judges this year are Emer Casey, a native of Derry, and Dubliner Pamela Hughes. Emer has spent the greater part of her life in Dublin. She holds a BA Honours in English and Philosophy and an Associate and Licentiate from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Emer performs on stage herself frequently and has her own Drama School in Dublin.
Pamela runs Take 2 Performing Arts School and Casting Agency and celebrates 25 years in business this year. Pamela studied with the Gaiety school of Acting, London College of Music and has a Licentiate and Fellowship with the Irish Board of Speech & Drama.
The categories in competition include; Poetry, Solo-Drama, Solo-Mime, Sight Reading, Television Newsreader, Original Poetry, Duologues, Choral Verse, Group Improvisation and Movement to Music. The age range in all competitions is from age 4 years to 18 years.
Everyone is invited to come along and enjoy the performances, you do not have to be a parent or a relative of the performers. The cost is €3 on Saturday and €4 on Sunday, there are 36 competitions and 9 finals to see.
Feis organiser Patricia Reynolds would like to thank all the sponsors, without whose support the Feis could not continue.
'I do realise that we are deeply in recession, and the drop in numbers in competitions attest to that,' she says.
'Most of our sponsors have been with us from the very beginning and continue to support us through thick and thin.'