Donegal's cultural and sporting events go virtual and the Diaspora is invited to join in

 Presentation of Winners trophy by Mary Larkin at the 2019 Event.
Presentation of Winners trophy by Mary Larkin at the 2019 Event.

 Some of Donegal and Ireland’s most iconic cultural events are going virtual in 2020, giving the diaspora a unique opportunity to get more involved. Throughout July, Earagail Arts Festival presents a fantastic free 18-day digital line-up for Donegal’s premier summer event.

Festival director Paul Brown says: “While it does not replace welcoming visitors from all over the world to our beautiful county in person, Earagail Arts Festival 2020 will showcase Donegal on a global scale and bring people together worldwide. We are delighted to bring you a re-imagined condensed festival of Srutháin (small streams), an 18-day line-up of online and radio performances, interactive arts, masterclasses and nomadic popup theatre across our original dates of 9th to 26th July 2020.

“Whilst the challenge of the recent times has pushed us all into new and unchartered territory, the Earagail Arts Festival, gratefully supported by our funders are committed to ensuring the survival and sustainability of the arts sector in Ireland, by supporting the artists who were due to present their work this year. And whilst we will never replace the multi-sensory, real life physicality of in-person presentation, all artists within this programme have responded with passion, determination and ingenuity to share their creative output with you. We also wanted, as much as possible, to contextualise the festival in the place that has inspired so much creativity, therefore many of these works are rooted in the landscape and set against the backdrop of one of the greatest stages in the world….County Donegal” he added.

People all over the world can join in via the festival’s website and sign up to the newsletter. Earagail Arts Festival is proudly supported by Donegal County Council, Arts Council of Ireland, and the Wild Atlantic Way.

In sport, people across the diaspora are signing up to do the Wild Atlantic 500km Virtual Challenge. Starting in Muff in Inishowen, the route is divided into 11 stages, follows the Wild Atlantic Way and finishes in Bundoran. This is the perfect opportunity to grab a friend or training buddy, at home or abroad, and get fit and healthy this summer. To join in a great journey along the beautifully rugged Donegal coastline from Muff to Bundoran, register here:

Organisers of the Donegal Half Marathon are also running this year’s event in a virtual format. Race director, Brendan McDaid, said while it was unfortunate that the actual ace would not be taking place, he was hopeful that people will take on the virtual challenge: “We decided to host a virtual race which will hopefully capture the imagination locally, nationally and internationally. Sunday, August 30th was the date fixed for this year’s Donegal Half Marathon, so we are asking people from all over the world to get involved in the 2020 Virtual Donegal Half Marathon over the last weekend in August by running or walking the 13.1 mile distance on Friday, August 28th, Saturday August 29th or Sunday August 30th. All competitors of the virtual run will receive a specially designed T-shirt and a medal by post, and an e-certificate to mark their participation in the event.”

To find out more and register, visit:

Meanwhile, a Donegal classic, The Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival will also go online this year. Anthea Atkinson is Chair of the Festival Committee: “We have already begun a series of virtual events including kids’ art competitions, messages from the Marys, #softchangechallenges and virtual Bingo. On Wednesday, 29th July, the Festival will hold a 5-day Drive-In Festival. There will be 10 events including live bands, Bingo, Trivia quiz, a virtual Fancy Dress competition, Car Treasure Hunt and Drive-in movies. Each event will last two hours and is limited to a maximum of 500 people. A large video wall will show virtual performances from local artists and video messages from home and abroad. We will be following all government guidelines and in the event of any changes on mass gatherings all events will be cancelled, and tickets refunded.” For more information, visit