The idea of establishing a festival such as Shennaghys Jiu was arrived at following a conversation between James Alexander, leader of the Fochabers Fiddlers, Juan Garrett and Andrew Hannan at the beginning of 1998. James was keen to bring a group of young fiddlers to the Island during the Easter Holidays. Fortunately for us, and unlike many good ideas born in local hostelries, it was remembered the following day! Together with Rachel Pressley, Andrew and Juan arranged venues in April 1998 and Shennaghys Jiu was born.
The concept of the festival was to bring young musicians together in a non-competitive environment. It allowed one and all to enjoy the music and get together informally for a session or at the ceilidh to jam and learn from each other. Younger performers also took the opportunity to “take the stage” without the added pressure of competition.
From the modest but highly motivated beginnings in 1998 Shennaghys Jiu has gone on from strength to strength and has hosted a wide range of talent from many different Celtic Cultures. The festival has hosted musicians, from all the Celtic Nations and continue to forge links with groups from Galicia enabling the festival to continue to sound fresh, yet keep its warm friendly atmosphere.