Beautiful scenery, a pageant, family values and Daniel O'Donnell all come together in a small Donegal town for the annual Mary From Dungloe Festival.

In 1967 Mrs Sweeney, owner of Sweeney’s Hotel on Main Street Dungloe, got a committee together to start the festival.  Local man Daniel Gallagher was the first director of the festival and as he puts it, 

We had the scenery, we had the potential, we had everything we really needed, we just needed something, a focal point...

Now a central fixture in the Donegal social calendar, the festival is also a major boost for the local economy. 

Reporter Bill Hughes talks to the ‘Marys’, who are being shown the sights of Donegal on a bus tour.  They hail from all over Ireland, England, Scotland and the United States, and are enjoying the whole experience.  The winner of the Mary From Dungloe pageant acts as ambassador for the festival for a year.

The festival changed its name when the Emmet Spiceland folk band had a hit with ‘Mary From Dungloe’, and it is this song that is celebrated and sung at the festival by Daniel O’Donnell. Having attended the festival since he was a child, the Kincasslagh native has been involved with it for many years, promoting it to audiences at home and abroad, 

A couple of years ago I began to tell them about the festival, only because I was singin’ ‘Mary From Dungloe’ on the show, and that year, they started to come.  And then I told them a little bit more, and now they are coming to see where I live, because I’ve told them so much about it, and they’re never disappointed.

Daniel’s loyal fans have followed him all the way to Donegal, and many are present in the marquee for the Mary From Dungloe pageant to hear him sing.  

Paula O’Reilly from County Monaghan is chosen as the 1992 Mary From Dungloe. 

This episode of ‘Summer Journeys’ was broadcast on 4 August 1992. 

‘Summer Journeys’ was a magazine type programme featuring reports on summer festivals and various types of events from locations all over Ireland.  It ran for one series only, from July to August 1992.  The reporters were Joe Duffy, Bill Hughes, Jane Kelly, Bríd Óg Ní Bhuachalla and John Farrell.