Gaelic Classes with Stacy MacLean

feis-cdFeis an Eilein is sponsoring classes in conversational Gaelic, Monday evenings at 7pm at the former St.Barra’s church. Dates are as follows: July 19, July 26, August 2, August 9, 2021. $20 for all four classes (Native speakers and students admitted free).

Mar Chàrn-cuimhne dh’Ar Deagh Bhana-charaid Deabaidh (A Tribute to Our Friend – In Memory of Debi)

We are pleased to announce that this year’s concert series is dedicated to the memory of our friend and former Co-Chair of our Society, Debra E. “Debi” MacNeil. Debi’s love of the Gaelic language and culture and her passion for growing the Gaelic will continue to inspire us here at the Féis.

Bidh an sreath do chuirmean-ciùil againn am bliadhna air a sònrachadh mar chuimhneachan do Dheabaidh NicNìll: ar bana-charaid agus Co-neach-cathrach roimhe aig Comann Féis an Eilein. `S ann a bhios an gràdh a bh’aig Deabaidh air cultar is cànan nan Gàidheal, agus an togradh a bh’aice-se gus fàs a thoirt air a’ Ghàidhlig, `na bhrosnachadh maireannach aig muinntir na Féiseadh.

The first concert in our Gaelic Concert Series will celebrate Debi’s life in Gaelic. Debi was an integral member of the Féis serving as our co-chair for many years. She had an immense love for Gaelic singing and the Gaelic language. She dedicated a lot of her life to learning the language and immersing herself in it through her work with Féis an Eilein, the Nova Scotia Highland Village Museum, and by taking and teaching numerous Gaelic classes. We will always remember Debi’s great work ethic. She was dedicated to her culture and the passion that she shared through the Féis will forever be remember.

We hope you can join us in celebrating the life and cultural contributions of our own, Debi MacNeil.

25th Year for the Festival of the Island

This year marks the 25th year for Féis an Eilein – and boy, we couldn’t be more excited! We have a whole host of activities planned throughout the summer months, from concerts to workshops to lessons for one and all. You won’t want to miss this wonderful celebration with friends and families as everyone gathers back home to celebrate together at the festival they grew up attending. We are thrilled to welcome new visitors to take-in and participate in all our festival events. 

We want to invite you to join in our anniversary celebrations! Come ceilidh with us at our Open House on Wednesday, August 19th starting at 7:30pm. It will be a celebration of Féis an Eilein’s successful presentation and promotion of Gaelic language and cultural programming over the past 25 years. We will have local entertainment and tea and lunch will be served. 

Some other highlights include: A Walk through The Glen and The Féis Week Concert (8pm) on August 18th, Gabh do Naidheachd on August 21st and the Family Round and Squaredance (9pm) on August 22nd.  

We encourage you to check out the Gaelic Concert Series Line-up  and 25th Annual Féis an Eilein Schedule of Events buttons on the left side of the home page.

Thank you to the Christmas Island Volunteer Fire Department for your continuous support of our efforts to promote the Gaelic language and its cultural art-forms. We also wish to thank each and every one of you, our participants and our contributors, for your support of the Féis for the past 25 years. Many thanks are extended to all our volunteers who make the presentation of our events possible, and thanks also to our sponsors.

Móran Taing Dha ‘n a h-Uile Duine!

Tribute to Maxie

We are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of our beloved Gaelic friend and mentor Maxie “Dan Angus” MacNeil, of Highland Hill, Cape Breton.

Maxie was an integral part of Féis an Eilein, always willing to lend his voice for performances and workshops. He was very supportive of youth growing up in the culture by encouraging them to sing a song at the milling table and by being a kind and approachable member of the Gaelic community. We will also remember him greatly for his sense of humour. An iconic and important man, he will forever live on in our hearts and so too, in the lasting sounds his voice has left on all of us.

Here is a beautiful article written in the Cape Breton Post:…/Community-mourns-the-loss…/1.

Have a listen to Maxie’s timeless voice:

The milling frolics won’t be the same without you, Maxie. You will be missed greatly. Beannachd dia dhuit.

Féis an Eilein will sponsor a series of evening Gaelic language classes at 3 levels

A new beginner class is being offered for school children and adults who have little or no knowledge of the language.

An advanced beginner class will be offered for those former beginners who wish to begin to read and write the language.

An advanced class will be offered which will focus on Conversational Gaelic.

The Beginner and the Advanced Beginner classes will take place Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00pm for a period of 8 weeks, beginning on March 12th and continuing until April 30th.

The Advanced class will take place from 7:30pm- 9:30pm for a period of 10 weeks beginning on March 12 and continuing until May14th.

Classes take place at the Christmas Island Fire Hall.

Registration fee is $50.00. There is no charge for students or native Gaelic speakers.

For more information please e-mail or telephone 902-622-2605.

Féis an Eilein gratefully acknowledges funding support received from the Office of Gaelic Affairs.

Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council Awards

Community Arts and Culture Recognition Award

Debi and Beth accepting the Community Arts Award from Mae Rowe at the CBRM December

Debi and Beth accepting the Community Arts Award from Mae Rowe at the CBRM December

The award is presented annually by the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council to a community that demonstrates the value it places on the presence of arts and culture in community life. Funded from the Nova Scotia Arts Endowment Fund, the award carries a cash value of $10,000. The recipient is required to apply the award to continuing the integration of arts and culture within the community.

Comunn Féis an Eilein is very proud to have been named as the 2012 recipient of the Community Arts Presentation Award. Our organization and the community of Christmas Island was short listed in 2010 and 2011.The nomination was prepared by Féis supporter and contributor Betty Lord and was accompanied by 16 letters of support from area youth and other individuals and by Gaelic organizations and municipal and other government representatives.

Members of the Féis travelled to Halifax in October when CBRM Councilor Mae Rowe accepted the award on behalf of the municipality.

The award was officially recognized at the December meeting of the CBRM council in Sydney when Mae presented the check to Féis Co-Chairs Beth MacNeil and Debi MacNeil and the following proclamation was read:


“Féis An Eilein – Christmas Island Community – Community Arts & Culture Recognition Award”

Whereas: The Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council plays a role in celebrating excellence in arts and culture across the province and hosts the Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala which celebrates the achievements of Nova Scotia artists, arts organizations and cultural communities;

And Whereas: On October 26th, 2012 The nomination of “Féis An Eilein” from the Christmas Island Community which was accompanied by 16 letters of support from individuals and organizations was successful and the Society was presented with the prestigious Community Arts and Culture Recognition Award.

This award totaling $10,000.00 supports the integration of arts and culture into community life;

And Whereas: This community-based non-profit Gaelic cultural organization has been at the forefront of the revitalization of Gaelic language and culture for 23 years;

And Whereas: The organization has been promoting and preserving the language through the provision of numerous opportunities for interaction with the culture through community based activities including the annual week-long festival Féis an Eilein, the weekly Gaelic Concert Series, the Summer Music Program which provides area youth with instruction in Gaelic language and the Gaelic Arts, the creation of a highly respected CD of traditional Gaelic performances and a full length documentary created to celebrate their 20th anniversary, working to increase the provision of Gaelic language opportunities in the local school, sponsorship of community Gaelic learning classes throughout the year, assisting other like-minded cultural organizations, creating awareness of Cape Breton’s Gaelic cultural heritage, which generates economic activity in the CBRM through increased visitation by cultural tourists, and provision of employment opportunities to numerous area youth and hundreds of Gaelic resource personnel and traditional entertainers;

And Whereas: These initiatives  are supported by the residents of the community of Christmas Island and surrounding area, government and institutions, and the generosity of our Gaelic tradition –bearers;

Be It Therefore Resolved: That CBRM Mayor and Council go on record in recognizing the efforts of the volunteer members of the Féis An Eilein who have been at the forefront of the movement for the rejuvenation of Gaelic language and culture and have advanced the Gaelic cultural interest through programs, activities, promotions, and cooperation with other Gaelic based organizations.

Councillor Mae Rowe – District #13 – CBRM

Approved by CBRM Mayor and Council on the 11th day of December, 2012