As the Dhoire Feis Colmcille this week celebrates its 90th anniversary, Derry News reporter Sinead Harkin speaks to one of the main figures behind the scenes of the historic event.

FEIS organiser, Pat McCafferty, is the third generation of the McCafferty family at the helm of the Feis.

The 70 year old got involved in the event as a youngster when he sang in the Boys Solo competition and hasn’t looked back since.

“My grandmother sang in the first Feis in 1922,” said Pat.

“My grandfather was in the second committee in 1923 and my father was the official accompanist at the Feis for 50 years right up until he passed away about 15 or 16 years ago.

“I sang in it myself when I was a child. I remember my father said to me, “You’re going for the boy’s solo and that’s the end of it, away you go now and learn that song.”

“I sang as an adult and my father had his own singing classes, which my sister Una took over when he passed away.

“A lot of people in the town would have fond memories of him. Most people felt that James McCafferty was the Feis because he brought in pupils, he had choirs, he had soloists and he was the accompanist for the dancing and the singing.

“Some people would actually say the Feis has never been the same since he passed away.

“It’s probably true in one sense that with the kind of personality my father had, he engendered that kind of feeling, but the Feis is more than just one man.”

See today's Derry News for the full interview with Pat McCafferty

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