The Niel Gow Festival 2023

Sunday 19th March 2023

Everything you need to know about what's happening on the day

Niel Gow Walk

Niel Gow Statue | 10:00am
Meeting at the Niel Gow statue at 10am, join this guided walk led by Pete Clark. You will head along the River Braan to Inver and Niel Gow's Cottage where you will receive a warm welcome, returning by approx. 12:30pm. No tickets required but donations are gratefully received.

Koterana album launch

Birnam Arts | 12:30pm
An album release performance of music by Iain Fraser, celebrating the 19th century multiple emigration from Clachtoll to Waipu, New Zealand, via Cape Breton and Melbourne which was led by the Rev. Norman McLeod and his followers.

Sunday afternoon concert

Birnam Arts | 3:00pm
Featuring: The Gordon Duncan Experience; Hannah Fisher (Fiddle) and Ciorstaidh Beaton (Harp); Patsy Reid (Fiddle) and Alice Allen (Cello).

Session - The Taybank

Dunkeld is known to enjoy a good session, so bring your instruments (or just yourselves) along to the pub and play into the early hours of the morning at our open sessions.


Weekend workshops blocks suited to intermediate players

Fiddle workshops

10:00 - 11:00: Hannah Fisher
11:30 - 12:30: Ryan Young
14:00 - 15:30: Elizabeth Davidson-Blythe

Mixed instrument workshops

10:00 - 11:00: Rua MacMillan and Marc Clement
11:30 - 12:30: Patsy Reid and Daniel Quayle
14:00 - 15:30: Charlie McKerron and Marc Clement

These can now be booked as individual workshops via the Birnam Arts website.

Cello workshops

10:00 - 11:00: Wendy Weatherby
11:30 - 12:30: Alice Allen

Please note that this is a recent update and thus the layout in the programme is no longer correct. These are the correct timings for this workshop.

Gow Gathering

Download your own copy of the Gow Gathering programme here. All you have to do is click the link below!


A pop-up craft and music fair ‘Upstairs at Birnam Arts’ will be alongside the Niel Gow Festival this year. Running from 10.30-4pm on both Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th the pop-up will showcase local arts and crafts, as well as excellent music and instrument stalls. Some of those who will be there are:

Kat n Kat

Handmade gifts, jewellery and textiles

Station Cat Pottery

Pottery with a string instrument theme!

Storybook Instrument Workshop

Instrument makers of violins, harps and guitars

Dunkeld & Birnam Traditional Youth Music Group

With Karys Watt - fiddle player

Alastair J. Hardie
Tim Wright Violins
Perthshire Guitar Service
Christian Mueller Violin Maker
Olivella Violins

The Donegal Fiddlers’ Portrait Collection Exhibition

The Donegal Fiddlers’ Portrait Collection Exhibition will be part of this year’s festival and displayed in our venues. This is a documentation project undertaken by Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí in 2022 with the support of the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaion. The project set out to produce a photographic portrait of each fiddler associated with the Donegal fiddle tradition over the age of eighteen years. The collection was designed to be produced by a professional photographer and capture the individual nature of each of the subjects.The project was tendered to a number of highly qualified professional photographers with the commission won by Dónal Glackin.

Dónal is a full time professional photographer, videographer and documentary film maker. His work appears regularly on TG4 as well as RTÉ television. One of the stand out aspects of Dónal’s tender was to also capture each instrument as it is associated with its specific owner. His work has shown that in many cases, the nature of the fiddle as a subject often holds the same ‘personality’ as the fiddler. In the process of delivering the project so far, he has also captured images of a tin fiddle, a form of the instrument which is strongly connected with the tradition in Donegal.

To date the project has seen Dónal capture and produce portraits of over 130 fiddlers from the Donegal tradition and their fiddles. The project is on-going and we are continually contacting other subjects yet to be documented.