A delegation of about 50 musicians, dancers and artists represented the Isle of Man at the annual Lorient Interceltic Festival.

The event brings together 11 Celtic nations in the town of Lorient in Brittany, western France for 10 days and is attended each year by about 750,000 visitors.

Grainney Sheard, who was co-delegate for the Manx group alongside her sister Ealee, told Island Life: ‘The Isle of Man more than pull their weight in this festival despite being the smallest nation both geographically and in population.

‘The ratio of talented artists on this island is disproportionately high and it shows at an international festival like this.

‘The Isle of Man is given equal standing in the eyes of the festival alongside larger delegations such as Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The festival got under way with a grand parade of Celtic nations through the streets of Lorient.

Flag bearer for the Isle of Man was Phill Collins.

Manx dance group Skeddan Jiarg performed at the Moustoir stadium for five nights, one night of which was filmed for French TV.

Grainney said their performances ‘brought tears of pride to my eyes’.

Jo Davies represented the island at the Euro Celtic Art Exhibition at Hotel Gabriel.

It saw Breton women in their national dress coming to pose with Jo’s Stories From Stones figures.

Grainney said the exhibition ‘attracted a disproportionate amount of attention in a good way’.

Jo’s design was also used as the front cover, art programme and poster for the exhibition.

Her specially commissioned images also provided the backdrop for the members of Creeaght, Isla Callister, Anna Garvin, Kirsty Lawrence, Katie Lawrence, Ruth Keggin and Mera Royle.

Creeaght celebrates significant Manx women and their contribution to Manx culture and community.

Ruby Biscoe-Taylor and her band members in Biskee Beg entered the Loïc Raison Trophée and Grainney said they had the audience in tears at Ruby’s original composition about her grandmother.

Isle of Man/ Glasgow band Mec Lir, featuring Tomas Callister, Adam Rhodes, David Kilgallon and Greg Barry performed to a packed audience at Le Kleub.

And Boghnid, which means nonsense or silliness, made their debut on the shared Celtic stage.

Ruth also sang alongside Scottish harpist Rachel Hair and as part of the collaborative Celtic odyssey project to a 3,000-strong audience.

Ruth said: ‘It was a thoroughly joyful experience to be able to take Manx language and song to thousands of people, and to be able to watch and celebrate the other fantastic musicians, dancers and artists representing the Isle of Man so wonderfully.’

The Manx pavilion was decorated with Visit Isle of Man banners as well as a special showcase of Loaghtan sheep and drop spindle demonstrations organised by Julie Matthews.

Manx language freebies with easy to learn phrases and folklore traditions handouts were enjoyed by visitors as well as Manx folklore colouring sheets by Little Moot Studio and Julia Ashby Smyth.

Grainney said the Manx pavilion was a ‘great success’ with very high attendance. ‘The pavilion team have been incredibly positive and enthusiastic advocates for the Isle of Man, talking about what is on offer there for visitors should they wish to make a trip,’ she said.

For the festival’s first weekend, the Manx delegation was joined by Visit Isle of Man chief executive Deborah Heather. Grainney said Deborah ‘enthusiastically joined in and attended many of the delegation’s performances and came away with very positive feedback and a newfound appreciation for Manx traditional culture’.

Grainney thanked Culture Vannin, Visit Isle of Man and the Isle of Man Arts Council for their support.