Sunday 20 January 2019

IFTA winning Donal for Fleadh TV

Ravensdale native looks forward to showcasing Louth

Donal O’Connor (second left) holding the IFTA with his colleagues.
Donal O’Connor (second left) holding the IFTA with his colleagues.
The Fleadh TV crew arrive in Drogheda.

Margaret Roddy

Ravensdale native Donal O'Connor took a break from planning Fleadh TV's coverage of the Fleadh Ceoil 2018 in Drogheda to celebrate winning an IFTA last week with Gifted Empire Productions in the best live tv programme category for TGXXBeo which covered the Irish language station's 20th anniversary celebrations.

The live broadcast covered the celebrations on Halloween 2016 in four locations, including the main stage in the quad of NUI Galway, as well as the home of TG4's studios in the Connemara Gaeltacht, Paidi O Se's legendary pub in Kerry and Gweedore, Co Donegal.

'We had live music, song, dance, poetry with a fantastic line up including the Hothouse Flowers, Mairtin O'Connor, Prodijig, Duke Special, Seamus Begley and many more.'

The programme was 'a huge success for TG4,' says Donal who was delighted to be part of it and also to see all the hard work acknowledged at the IFTAs.

This is the second IFTA for Donal, who is a producer and music supervisor for Fleadh TV, which has covered Ireland's iggest traditional music festival for the past six years -winning an IFTA in 2016.

Last year's coverage reached 1.5million viewers worldwide through the TG4 player and Fleadh TV Facebook page.

'We will be broadcasting three hours a night for four nights,' he says. Fleadh TV will go live on Thursday August 16th with presenters Hector Ó hEochagáin, Ruth Smith, Doireann Ní Ghlacáin and newcomer Andrias De Staic.

'There will be well over 400 musicians on the programme and we will be broadcasting from three locations each night: the main stage and the festival club down by the river while Hector will be out and about on the streets of Drogheda,'

The logistics involved in covering the event are huge, and Donal says there will be a full crew of 110 working on ensuring everything runs smoothly during the week of the Fleadh.

'We will have some of the best people in the country working for us. We are bringing the best technical crew, camera, lights and sound that we can get. It's a huge production crew and we will be doing sound checks all day so our crew will be working an 18 hour day for the week of production. It's very intense but great fun.'

Donal says he is looking forward to showcasing the music and song of his native Co Louth and the Oriel region, with many local musicians, singers and dancers included in the line-up.

As part of the famous O'Connor and O hUllachain dynasty, Donal might just find time to step from behind the scenes onto the stage to perform along side his father Gerry and siblings.

An accomplished fiddle player, he performs regularly with Ulaid and John McSherry, recently releasing an album with Duke Special. He also has his own recording studios in Belfast and is currently producing his father's second solo album which is due for release before the Fleadh.

The Argus