In this new four part Irish Language Broadcast Fund series professor Art Hughes and broadcaster Tomaí Ó Conghaile take a trip around some of Europe’s maddest festivals, sampling and celebrating Celtic life as they go. The series begins tonight, Monday 8th April, at 10pm on BBC Two NI. The pair begin their journey at the Festival de Cornouaille in Brittany, a festival dedicated to the sheer richness and diversity of Breton culture.
The rest of the series follows Art and Tomaí as they visit Altburg in Germany for a Celtic festival with a bizarre twist where Art gets the opportunity to show off his hunting skills.
From there they visit the annual Festa Major in Vilafranca in Catalonia – one of the world’s loudest and most colourful festivals where they witness the death defying sport of Castells human towers ten levels high.
Finally they visit the eccentric Trumpet Festival in the tiny village of Guca in Serbia – a festival that attracts half a million people. As they go they party, play Gaelic football, dance, and Tomai even ends trying a spot of wrestling. And everywhere they go they find traces of home.
Newry born Tomaí Ó Conghaile is a publisher, editor and presenter who has been working in Irish language media for over 10 years. He is currently a presenter on BBC Radio Ulster’s Irish language programme, Blas. He says: “Each festival we visited was a unique experience. Europe is full of diverse, colourful cultures and we wanted to show that vibrancy in the series. Rich heritage mixed with crazy brass bands, human towers, ancient wrestling and kilted Celts… what more could you ask for?!”
For Art Hughes, this is his first foray into the world of television presenting. He a Belfast man and professor of Irish studies at the University of Ulster. He says: “Not only are Tomaí and I immersed in Gaelic culture but we are also interested in the wider languages and cultures of our fellow Europeans. Furthermore this exciting series provided us with a platform to meet people and hear the real word and live music on the street. A truly wonderful and eventful sojourn.”
Art agus Tomaí san Eoraip is a Tern Television production for BBC Northern Ireland produced with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund.