Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair, 1931–1981 is the title of a new Irish language book by Noel Ó Gallchóir. The book offers a rich and comprehensive account of the history of Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair during those years and contains a wide selection of photographs and news reports from various periods.
Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair enjoyed national and international acclaim for many years as one of Ireland’s leading drama groups. They won a vast array of awards and prizes at festivals, feiseanna agus competitions and are considered to have been pivotal figures in achieving recognition for Irish language drama.
‘It was Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair who first roused my love for drama,’ said Noel Ó Gallchóir, the book’s author, ‘and I know the same is true of many more people. The Aisteoirí played a key role in conserving, nurturing and enriching music and drama in Donegal. As well as that, I don’t think that any other drama group in the country did as much to further the cause of the Irish language drama movement, or achieved the same standard as the Aisteoirí during that period.’
The book details the history of the company from 1931 until 1981 and documents the plays they performed, the prizes they won, the challenges they faced and the other achievements they made over those years. It also offers insight into life in Gaoth Dobhair in the twentieth century and gives an account of the most prominent figures involved with the Aisteoirí, including Áine Nic Giolla Bhríde, the group’s leader and linchpin for most of that period.
Extracts from news publications about Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair:
‘The club that has blazed a trail in Gaelic drama and brought the name of Donegal to the forefront in the native cultural world.’ (Donegal Democrat, 24 Nollaig 1954)
‘Agus féach Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair. Bhfuil aon duais ar son drámaíochta ná fuil buaite acu? Féile Drámaíochta na hÉireann, an tOireachtas, feiseanna agus féilí eile. Ach an duais is mó an cháil atá tuillte acu dóibh féin.’ (Irish Press, 12 Meitheamh 1955)
‘The premier dramatic society in the country.’ (Derry People, 15 Meitheamh 1955)
Noel Ó Gallchóir is a writer and dramatist who lives in Gort an Choirce, Donegal. He has been involved with An Cumann Scoildrámaíochta for many years and was involved with An Comhlachas Náisiúnta Drámaíochta from 1976 until 1996. He was also a member of Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair and Aisteoirí Ghort an Choirce and is involved in An Béal Binn and Éigse Uladh. He has won national awards in various competitions, including An tOireachtas, Scór agus drama festivals.
In 2011, Noel compiled the book Trasna an Ghaoith: Scríbhinní Johnny Sheáin, a collection of the works of his father, Seán Ó Gallchóir (1912–84).
In recent years, Noel has achieved acclaim as a dramatist and has undertaken tours with the shows Idir Dhá Cheann na hImní (2015), Ó Pheann an Phiarsaigh (2016) and Máire (2019). He was awarded the Stewart Parker Irish Language Writing Award in 2015.