28th Annual Féis an Eilein

AUGUST 21-25, 2018

Féis an Eilein is a community-based festival designed to promote the Gaelic language and culture of our area through educational and social activities for people of all ages. Christmas Island is home to the first Féis held outside of Scotland. Friends, relatives, and visitors from near and far come to the Féis each year. If you have even a little of the Gàidhlig we invite you to use it during our events!

If you have even a little of the Gàidhlig we invite you to use it during our events!

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Tuesday, August 21

 Cuirm-Chiùil Na Féise  “The Féis Week Concert”

8pm | Adm. $15 ~ Children 14 & under $5 Members of Comunn Féis an Eilein welcome you as we kick off our 28th Annual Féis. Bean an Taighe award winning recording artist Mary Jane Lamond welcomes Cathy Ann MacPhee, herself an internationally renowned singer, who is visiting us this year. We are pleased to again present The Cape Breton University Pipe Band with featured piper Trevor Kellock. We also welcome Mr. Stan Chapman back to the Féis this year. He will be accompanied by Susan MacLean and they will also play some tunes for our featured step dancers!


Wednesday, August 22 

Gaelic Language Classes

10am – 4pm | Adm. $25/per day ~ Seniors & Students $10 | Please bring your own lunch. Tea, coffee, and snacks will be provided.


Intermediate/advanced classes with Catriona Parsons: Catrìona NicÌomhair Parsons is a native Gaelic speaker who was born in the Isle of Lewis. She has taught Gaelic for many years and has written and published Gaelic-English articles and poetry and produced her CD of Gaelic songs.


Catriona’s Wednesday’s lesson– An Tuiseal Ginideach: (Mastering the Genitive Case).

Gàidhlig Aig Baile classes with Stacey MacLean. Stacey took a great interest in Gaelic language and culture at a young age. She immersed herself in the language and attended the Féis in the early days. She has taught Gaelic in the Public School system and now teaches youth and adults at community based classes and at Gaelic cultural institutions.


Stacey will instruct this 2-day session utilizing the TIP/GAB methodology. Gàidhlig aig Baile (GAB) has become the model for community-based Gaelic language learning. Students learn to speak and understand Gaelic through oral repetition and body language while taking part in activities and conversation.


Students are welcome to participate in one or both days of instruction.


Ar Seanachas, Ar Daoine agus Ar n-Àiteachan

“Our Stories, Our People and Our Places”

7:30 pm| Adm. by donation Tea & Lunch will be served.

“Annie Johnson and Cape Breton”

Renowned Isle of Barra Gaelic tradition bearer Annie Johnson was very connected to Nova Scotia. She corresponded with many people here and even came over to visit in the 1950s.

One of the people she corresponded with was Sr. Margaret MacDonnell. Cathy Ann MacPhee was a little girl in Barra when she used to visit Calum Johnson (Annie’s brother).

Cathy Ann will describe those visits and sing some of his songs. Bean an Taighe Lorrie MacKinnon welcomes Cathy Ann MacPhee, and Rod C. MacNeil, and Mickey MacNeil as they talk about some of the folks that Annie Johnson visited and corresponded with.


Thursday, August 23

Gaelic Language Classes

10am – 4pm | Adm. $25/per day ~ Seniors & Students $10 | Please bring your own lunch. Tea, coffee, and snacks will be provided.

Intermediate/advanced class with Catriona Parsons Thursday’s lesson– Seann Sgeulachdan agus Naidheachdan: ‘gan leughadh, a’ bruidhinn orra, agus ‘gan ath-innse.  (Reading, discussing and re-telling Old Tales) and TIP/GAB with Stacey MacLean are continued.

Milling Song Workshop                                            

6pm – 7:30pm | Adm. $6

Instructor Cathy Ann MacPhee is a native Gaelic speaker who was raised on the Isle of Barra. Come and learn some milling songs and choruses and join in the singing tonight.


Traditional Milling Frolic

8pm | Adm. $10 ~ Ages 14 & Under Free

Singers once gathered around the milling table to keep a constant rhythm while pounding newly-woven cloth – now the work is done for the sheer pleasure and to keep the songs and culture alive. This milling frolic is one of the best known on Cape Breton Island and is not to be missed!       Tea and lunch will be served.


Friday, August 24 

Latha De Dh ’Òrain – Day of Gaelic Songs

Adm. $6 per workshop

We are pleased to offer this day devoted to the study of the Gaelic Song Tradition. A wide-variety of song styles will be taught.

11:00am – 12:30pm Instructor Cathy Ann MacPhee is a native Gaelic speaker and a renowned Gaelic singer.

1pm – 2:30pm Instructor Angus MacLeod is an instructor with The Atlantic Gaelic Academy.

2:45pm – 4:15pm Instructor Betty Lord has organized and taught numerous Gaelic language classes and song workshops.


Féis Children’s Concert & Family Square Sets 7pm – 9pm | Adm. Free

Students of our summer music program will perform in a Féis style recital at the Christmas Island Fire Hall. Stay for some square sets when our Prompter will guide everyone through the figures. Hot dogs pop, and ice cream will be provided. Donations accepted at the door.


Saturday August 25

Laoidhean Gàidhlig- Gaelic Hymns

10:30am – 12pm | Adm. $6

Instructor Rod C. MacNeil in a noted Gaelic tradition-bearer who has a deep appreciation of our local Gaelic Hymn tradition. He will teach some of his favorites today.


Gabh do Naidheachd – Tell Your News            

1:30pm | Adm. Free

Fear an Taighe Shamus Y. MacDonald will host this session which is conducted entirely in Gaelic. Tootsie and Neil will host this event at their home 7435 Grand Narrows Hwy, Big Beach. It is an opportunity to share stories and be immersed in the language. Refreshments will be served.


Sreath de dh’Òrain Gaelic Song Circle          

3:30pm | Adm. Free

Bean an Taighe Lorrie MacKinnon will lead the singing. This event will also take place at Tootsie and Neil’s home. Tradition bearers and new singers alike are welcome to share their songs.


We sincerely hope you enjoy your Féis experience and that you can come back to visit us again!