• Memories of Burns Weekend


Burns Weekend in Cashelard

Friday 24th & Saturday 25th January 2020

Burns Weekend in Cashelard
Photos courtesy of Matt Britton – Donegal Democrat

There was music, there was poetry, there was lots of fine food and fun dancing. There was laughter and there were even tears, happy tears of course. The communities of Cashelard, Ballintra and beyond gathered together for Burns Weekend celebrations in tribute to the great Scottish bard, Rabbie Burns, whose birthday is celebrated throughout the world on the 25th of January. Held in aid of Donegal and North West Hospice, this special event was in memory of my father, the late Joe Mc Glone and many local neighbours and friends who are no longer with us.


The Travellers Rest pub in Cashelard was decked in tartan by Eamonn Gillespie, whose artistic eye for detail is second to none. Guests arrived to the hauntingly beautiful skirl of the bagpipes, played by the hugely talented Cameron Barnes of Red Hot Chilli Pipers fame. He was accompanied by his Scottish colleague, Marco Cafolla on keyboard. After the opening ceremony, Richard Hurst and a selection of local musicians and singers entertained us well into the wee hours.

View video highlights of Burns Weekend in Cashelard, courtesy of Peter Mullaney


Following extensive reporting by ‘Hamish Mc Sporran’ of ‘TV ALBA’, Scotland, a large crowd gathered on Saturday morning in search of the elusive haggis or haggi (plural) that had allegedly flown over from Scotland to Donegal for Burns Weekend in Cashelard 🙂 The weather was cold and crisp but dry, and the winter sun even peeped out from the clouds from time to time. It was such fun to see the faces of the little ones when they each found their Haggis prize. Well done to Nuala Mc Glone and Brian Doyle for making it a Haggis Hunt to remember.

Burns Weekend in Cashelard
Chairman Richard Hurst and members of the Doherty / McGlone Clan


Our thanks to James and Moira Doherty of Sliabh Liagh Distillery for a most interesting tasting of their excellent products – Silkie Irish Whiskey from Donegal and An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin.


Packed to capacity, the Breesy Centre looked resplendent in its Scottish décor. The Ardahy Pipe Band played for the guests while they were welcomed with a hot toddy and a smile. I can only describe the atmosphere as something between a New Year’s Eve Hogmany Party and an Irish wedding! Chairman Richard Hurst started proceedings with the ‘Parade of the Haggis’ and the ‘Address to the Haggis’. The ‘Selkirk Grace’ was performed (without notes 🙂 by Sean Doherty and then we were served the most delicious Cock-a-Leekie soup. Afterwards we were invited to the Burns Supper Banquet Buffet to choose from a fine feast of food, ranging from the traditional Scottish dish – ‘Haggis, Neeps & Tatties’ to Bacon & Cabbage or Fillet of Salmon with buttered Leeks. There was excellent feedback in relation to the high quality of food and service. Take a bow, Chris, Sara and team. Music during the meal was provided by Jim and Fiona, who serenaded us with Scottish ballads.

A lighthearted end to the formal part of the evening involved Richard Hurst delivering an eloquent speech in honour of Burns. This was followed by some humorous banter between cousins Danny Kelly and Roisin Mc Glone with their witty ‘Toast to the Lassies’ and ‘Response from the Lassies’. Roisin also paid tribute to Daddy Mc Glone, who persuaded us to host our first Burns Supper at Harvey’s Point eighteen years ago. He shared the same love for life as Rabbie Burns.


Later everyone took to the floor for dancing to the great Gary Blair Ceilidh Band, who had flown in from Glasgow to join us for their sixteenth consecutive year performing at our Burns Supper. During the interval, we were entertained by Eamonn, Cameron and Marco while sampling some Scottish sweet treats. At the end of the evening, everyone joined hands and sang along to the famous song by Burns called ‘Auld Lang Syne’. It was a moment I will never forget – looking around at the smiling faces as the crowd weaved in and out on the floor.

All in all, it was a crazy weekend. When I think of it, we congregated to feast upon a spicy sheep’s stomach and not before a poem was recited in its honour!We hunted for a haggis that doesn’t really exist (or does it?). We drank whiskey and wine – not bad after a ‘mostly’ dry January. We danced to tunes such as ‘The Dashing White Sergeant’ and the ‘The Gay Gordons’ and after all these years of Burns Suppers, I still seem to have two left feet!


Our sincere thanks to the organising committee – Eilis Mc Glone, Brendan Whoriskey, Eamonn Gillespie, Chris and Sara Mc Menamin. We also extend our appreciation to the Breesy Centre and the many local businesses who generously sponsored prizes and to everyone who assisted in any way. It truly was a team effort.

Burns Weekend at Cashelard was a resounding success. It was an event that brought families and friends together in a spirit of community, collaboration and connection. It was an event that made us remember loved ones who have passed on and it allowed us to spend precious time and make memories with the people that we care about. Rabbie Burns and Joe Mc Glone would have been proud. Their spirits live on!

Deirdre McGlone

February 2020

Deirdre McGlone
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