To mark the centenary of the end of World War One, a war that cost the lives of up to 50,000 Irishmen and Irishwomen, a number of staff and students from Finn Valley College collaborated to produce an album to honour those fallen Irish soldiers of the Great War.
The CD entitled ‘To the Fallen’ contains twenty poems and songs about the war and is the brainchild of Mr Shaun Byrne, a History teacher in the school. Mr Byrne, together with English teacher Mr Freddie Godliman and Ms Lisa Treanor, sourced and arranged the tracks, which were recorded in the Valley Recording Studios of Terry McGinty in Ballybofey and performed by over forty members of the school community, both teachers and students.
There were many varied elements involved in bringing this project to fruition. Some tracks chose themselves, such as the popular ballads The Green Fields of France and Danny Boy and the more famous war poems such as The Last Post and In Flanders’ Fields. However, others got the creative juices flowing more such as a Scots Gaelic tune written by a private from the Isle of Skye. The tune was adapted and transported to Donegal and the Island of Gola, with the resulting version of Isle of My Heart, sung by Irish teacher Ms Eimear Ni Fhearraigh, becoming a very fitting track.
A highlight was working on a series of war poems by Glenties native Patrick McGill and adapting them into a song that was beautifully delivered by 3rd year student Caitlin McNulty (see link at end). McGill, originally from Glenties, documented his war years in his writings and his haunting imagery coupled with his longing for home is arranged beautifully by Messrs Byrne and Godliman into the composition I Wish the Sea Was Not So Wide, to the beautiful air of The Parting Glass. Images for the video were sourced and arranged by History teacher Rory White.
It is hoped to launch the CD on the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, which marked the end of the war on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Appreciation must go to Donegal County Council through Creative Ireland and to Donegal ETB for part funding for the project.