Enya: publicity still for Paint the Sky With 



Gweedore pays tribute to three women of note

Kathy Donaghy

Irish Times (Ireland) 29 December 1997

Left to right: Daniel O'Donnell,
Máighread Ní Mhaonaigh (from the group "Altan"), and Enya.
Photography by Trevor McBride

It was billed as an evening with the stars: singer Enya, her sister Máire Ní Bhraonaín of Clannad, Máighread Ní Mhaonaigh of Altan, and Daniel O'Donnell.

But the venue was not Dublin or London but Óstán Gweedore in west Donegal where local people turned out on Saturday night to honour three of its best-known women.

It seemed fitting that the county's most famous son, Daniel O'Donnell, would present the awards to Enya, Máire and Máighread, three of Donegal's most famous daughters who all grew up in Gweedore.

One man asked another how much he would pay to see Enya and "wee Daniel" play at the same event.

"Money couldn't buy the tickets," the other answered.

The event was organised by the local GAA club and during proceedings the English and Irish languages mixed fluidly, traditional music giving way to cabaret and Enya's White Christmas followed by Daniel O'Donnell's version of The Rivers of Babylon.

Enya, wearing a long black evening gown, had earlier shared tea and sandwiches with family, friends and local people.

"Tonight is very special," she said. "It's somewhere I belong and to come home and be honoured means so much." For Máighréad Ní Mhaonaigh the night was equally special. "It's incredible. It's the biggest honour of all amongst your own people."

Máire Ní Bhraonáin was unable to attend.

Compère Michael Diver summed up the evening: "Tá na 1990s ag na mná agus fair play to them. For God's sake get up and do something boys."

But it was a man who had the last word.

At the end of the evening, wee Daniel sang My Donegal Shore.

Note: Transcribed by Peter Pehrson.