ABout | Fúinn

Céad mile fáilte and welcome to Féile Róise Rua 2021!

This festival is the culmination of many hours, weeks and months of discussion and organization by the Féile committee, a voluntary group interested in perpetuating the memory of Róise na nAmhrán and in sharing the wealth of song and story associated with Róise Rua and Arranmore Island.

The central part of the festival’s ethos is to celebrate and nurture unaccompanied song, the essence of Róise’s legacy. The festival is not so much based on performance as on the sharing of songs, tunes and stories that might otherwise be lost. And although things will be a lot different this year, we hope some of the spontaneity will be captured on our live broadcast and video footage. 

Photo of Róise Rua Copyright National Folklore Collection

a little About Róise rua

Róise Rua or Róise na nAmhrán was born in 1879 in Sheshkinarone, near Dungloe. After her father’s death in 1883, her mother (who was originally from Arranmore) married Antain Gallagher, “An Búistéir”, and the family moved back to the island. Arranmore remained Róise’s home for the rest of her life, until her death in 1964. “An Búistéir”, was a great storyteller and people flocked to their house to hear his stories. Róise’s mother, Maighréad, had a great repertoire of songs, which she passed on to Róise.  Róise, herself, became well known on the island for her singing, and people would often visit her home ‘ag airneáil’. It was Pádraig Ua Cnáimhsí, a local school teacher, who first drew widespread attention to her wealth of song and story in the early 1950s.  He wrote her biography, from her own telling, transcribed many of her songs, and wrote to the Irish Folklore Commission about her. As a result, Seán Ó hEochaidh, from the Folklore Commission, came to collect songs from Róise in 1953, and returned again with Leo Corduff, Proinsias Ó Conluain and Jimmy Mahon from Raidió Éireann, who recorded 60 of Róise’s songs.  These recordings were salvaged in the early 1990s and a selection of them edited and released by Cathal Goan, under the title Róise na nAmhrán: Songs of a Donegal Woman.

Rugadh Róise Rua, nó Róise na nAmhrán, i Seascann an Róin in aice leis An Chlochán Liath sa bhliain 1879. I ndiaidh dá hathair bás a fháil, phós a máthair (arbh as Árainn Mhór di) Antain Ó Gallachair, “An Búistéir”, agus chuaigh siad chun cónaí ar an oileán. Chaith Róise an chuid is mó dá saol ina dhiaidh sin ar Árainn Mhór, go dtí a bás sa bhliain 1964. Ba scéalaí iontach é “An Búistéir” agus thagadh na sluaite go dtí an teach chun éisteacht leis na scéalta a bhí aige. Bhí stór mór amhrán ag máthair Róise, Maighréad, a roinn sí le Róise. Bhain Róise í féin cáil amach ar an oileán mar amhránaí agus thagadh go leor de mhuintir na háite ag airneáil chuici. Ba é Pádraig Ua Cnáimhsí, máistir scoile áitiúil, an chéad duine a tharraing aird an phobail mhóir ar an saibhreas ceoil agus scéalaíochta a bhí ag Róise i dtús na 1950idí. Scríobh sé scéal a beatha óna béal féin, chomh maith le go leor dá cuid amhrán, agus scríobh sé chuig Coimisiún Béaloidis Éireann mar gheall uirthi. Dá bharr sin, tháinig Seán Ó hEochaidh, ón Choimisiún Béaloidis, le hamhráin a bhailiú ó Róise sa bhliain 1953, agus d’fhill sé le Leo Corduff, Proinsias Ó Conluain agus Séamas Ó Mathúna ó Raidió Éireann, a rinne taifeadadh ar 60 amhrán de chuid Róise. Sábháladh na taifeadtaí seo i dtús na 1990idí agus d’eisigh Cathal Goan cuid acu faoin teideal Róise na nAmhrán: Songs of a Donegal Woman.