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Singing on the Wild Side August 2021
August 6 2021 - August 13 2021€660 – €790
6th – 13th August 2021
Singing is back!
With Candy Verney
I am very excited to announce two Singing on the Wild Side holidays here at The Song House for 2021. These will follow our usual successful format, however because of Covid restrictions, we will only offer single rooms (unless you are coming with a friend). So we will be between 6 – 8 singers in all.
Singing on the Wild Side is about the singing, but much more too. Over the week, our own little community will build, seed new friendships, connect to local people, explore the natural vibrant beauty surrounding us. So if you like singing, wilderness, a sense of adventure, meeting other interesting folk and returning home feeling refreshed, invigorated and in tune, then join us here.
The Song House/ Teach na nAmhrán
After running singing holidays in wild places successfully for many years, 7 years ago the chance came my way to put down roots and establish a centre in Donegal. The Song House is a centre for singing and other activities, which fit with the guiding principles of community, harmony and valuing the natural world.
Formerly known as the Poets’ House, the centre was well-known in literary circles, with Seamus Heaney a frequent visitor. Now, in its new incarnation as The Song House, I am delighted that the creative spirit of the house will be continued and enhanced.
Why Donegal? In short, the landscape, the people, the music. The landscape here on the Wild Atlantic Way is quite stunning, constantly changing in response to shifts in the light, miles of empty sandy beaches as well as the iconic mountains of Errigal and Muckish as a backdrop to every view. All bedrooms in the Song House, as well as the spacious singing room, look out onto Muckish mountain, arising majestically from the sweeping boglands. Falcarragh lies within the Gaeltacht, the Irish speaking areas of Ireland, so you are likely to hear Irish being spoken by many local residents. There are weekly music sessions in many local pubs.
Things to Do in the Area
The area of Donegal around Falcarragh is steeped in archaeological and historical interest and Celtic spirituality, as well as a unique concentration of spectacular sandy beaches and mountains. It is a walker’s paradise. We have two National Parks within a 30 minute drive of the Song House: Ards Forest Park and Glenveagh National park. There are 5 expansive sandy beaches within 7 miles drive of The Song House, and you can hire surfing equipment, kayaks, or bicycles nearby. Hill walking, golf, kayaking, swimming, rock climbing, cycling, hiking are all available in the surrounding area.
What Songs will we Sing?
Great songs in harmony! Songs from Ireland, the islands of Britain, the rich vein of traditional music from USA, and songs from many World music traditions. And always a new song by Candy, in collaboration with a local singer/songwriter, or with Lindsey Williams (together we have written 2 book of songs for choirs: Songs from Life, Songs from a Full Moon LINK). We will learn music by ear, no reading of music necessary, though I’m happy to provide written music to those who want it for more difficult pieces. We’ll go to sing in special places nearby – in an old church, out in nature. Sometimes we experiment with improvisation and singing games.
Pattern of the Day
We sing for 3 hours every morning. The middle of each day will be free time to explore, do your own thing.
Most evenings we’ll eat together, then after a communal clear up (with more singing of course), we either have a visiting speaker or singer, or we sing, and create our own entertainment by sharing songs and making space for those who wish to share their talents, be they musical, storytelling or games.
Traditional culture in this area of Donegal is wonderfully vibrant, and we often invite local singers, poets, history or archeology experts to give us a session. There are several videos of Diane Cannon and Noeleen ní Cholla, both wonderful ‘seán-nós’ singers, singing at the Song House on our Facebook page: facebook.com/songhousefalcarragh Most music sessions in local pubs start at 10pm. We sometimes join in at a special session on a Tuesday evening- if Covid restrictions allow.
Accommodation during Covid
During Covid restrictions, we are offering all participants a single room, unless two friends or a couple are happy to share a room.
The Song House:
We at the Song House have completed Failte Ireland Covid Cleaning Training, and we adhere to their recommendations.
We follow the latest Irish government guidelines, and take advice from Sing Ireland. At time of writing (12 May) there is no road map that mentions when singing can start again. However we are confident that by mid July this will be allowed in small groups.
Sing Ireland report that ventilation is now considered the key thing for reducing the spread of Covid. So we will build in a routine of regularly ventilating our singing room. More breaks, but just as much singing! We will provide cleaning products, and ask our guests to support us by regularly cleaning communal surfaces.
We ask that every participant either shows proof of having had 2 vaccinations, or undertakes to get a Covid test within 24 hours of travelling, and takes every care whilst travelling to maintain Covid precautions.
If anyone develops Covid symptoms during their stay at the Song House, we request that you follow our strict procedures, for the safety of everyone. To support our mutual effort of maximising safety, everyone who signs up will be given a covid safety handbook, which we have devised in line with covid safety guidlines – where all proceedures are clearly outlined.
We ask that our guests collaborate with us in minimising risk whilst at the same time enjoying a wonderful singing week together.
Arrival and Departure Times
Arrive from 4-6pm on the first evening
Depart after breakfast on the final day
- Single room: €720
- Sharing a room: €660 each
- En-suite room: €790, or €730 shared
What is included?
This covers the singing, accommodation, food for breakfast and lunch, and the evening meal when you arrive on the first night.
Our fire pit overlooking Muckish mountain. On a fine evening, it’s magical to light a fire, and sing around the fire.
Food and shops
There are 2 little supermarkets in Falcarragh, one mile away.
Markets: veg and fish market on Friday mornings.
Previous singers have really enjoyed cooking the evening meal in groups. It was fun! So to keep costs down, the plan is that each group buys, prepares and cooks an evening meal. If you are not a confident cook- don’t worry! There are always plenty of good cooks and people to help. There are also great local fish and chips and we can treat ourselves to a meal out in the pub too.
Please let us know any special dietary needs.
What to Bring
- Bring clothes for all eventualities. Rain gear and walking shoes essential.
- Midge repellant (they can be an issue in damp weather in the summer.)
- Song House will provide all linen and towels, but if you like swimming, bring a swimming towel.
- There is a guitar here you can use. Bring musical instruments, stories, games, poems to make our own entertainment in the evenings.
There are several testimonials on our Singing Holidays page
“You have put your heart and soul into this week to take us all on an extraordinary journey of discovery through song. It is difficult to find words to describe this unique and special experience which I am truly grateful for.” LW Kerry
“Loved the singing. Was great to be back to it. Filled up my singing tank. Candy you make it so easy to learn and enjoyable. You have a fantastic skill which makes singing accessible to everyone. Thank you for sharing it.” ZG Northern Ireland April 2018
My highlights? Candy’s leadership. And I loved being part of the creation process of a new song, by a local singer songwriter- ‘Spread your Wings’ DD June 2018
“Coming back to Donegal and the Song House was what my soul needed, it filled me with a feeling of connection with nature, with humanity as well as with myself.” AB India 2019
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart and renewed soul for the most wonderful week where through your most special guidance, generosity and hospitality singing has given me so much more than I expected or could have imagined.” RG Dublin 2019
You can travel to Falcarragh easily by public transport.
• Daily Coaches from Dublin to Falcarragh (4 hours). The coach picks up at Dublin airport:
• Daily Coaches from Belfast to Falcarragh (2 ¾ hours). The coach doesn’t stop at Belfast International airport, but if you phone them, they’ll arrange for a taxi to drop you from the airport to meet the coach on the main road: gallagherscoaches.com
• Hourly minibus from Belfast airport to Derry: www.airporter.co.uk
Local buses will get you from Derry to Letterkenny, then on to Falcarragh.
• Regular flights from Glasgow and Dublin to Donegal airport. 30 min drive from Song House. The car hire at Donegal airport is more expensive. Or get a taxi.
• To drive, Google maps reference is on our website
We strongly advise you to arrange travel insurance to cover personal accident, cancellation of the holiday, loss of personal effects and personal liability.
In the event of your cancellation, for whatever reason except Covid, the following will apply:
• Cancellation 90 days and over before start of holiday – cost refunded less €60 admin charge
• Cancellation 46 to 89 days before start of holiday – 50% of total cost refunded, less €40 admin charge
• Cancellation 45 days before start of holiday– full cost of holiday will be charged, unless a replacement can be found. Then €40 admin charge.
In the case of cancellation due to renewed Covid restrictions, we will either keep your moneys towards a future holiday, or if preferred, offer you a full refund, minus administration fee of €40.
Our public liability insurance covers you for injury due to our negligence during the holiday but it does not cover you for injury from other causes or for loss or damage to your property. We cannot accept responsibility for illness, injury or loss, other than that caused by our proven negligence.