Pictured (from left): Mary Bergin, Mary O’Hara, Andy Irvine, Mary Black, Paddy Glackin, Finbar Furey…
A Kind of Homecoming
The annual celebration of traditional music, song and dance, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, will return as a fully live event in Mullingar from July 31-August 8, after a two-year hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The event makes a long overdue return to the County Westmeath town where Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann was founded in 1951. Having waited patiently to mark the seventieth anniversary, Mullingar is more than ready to welcome fleadh from Ireland and around the world to join the celebration which will be opened by President Michael D. Higgins.
At the heart of the Fleadh Cheoil are the multiplicity of competitions in music, song, dance and Comhrá Gaeilge involving qualifiers in various age categories from around the world. Another core element of the fleadh is Scoil Éigse, involving workshops, lectures and sessions.
As well as street performances and impromptu music sessions, performances will also take place on two ‘Gig Rigs’ – open air performance platforms and indoors in more conventional concert settings.
Among the artists already confirmed for the week are Martin Hayes and the Common Ground Ensemble, Sharon Shannon, Daithí Gormley, Frankie Gavin and Catherine McHugh, Téada, Ímar, Séamus Begley, Seán Keane and Emmett Cahill, Anúna, the Kilfenora Céili Band, the Bridge Céili Band, Damien Mullane and Moxie.
Fleadh Executive Committee Chairperson Joe Connaire, has highlighted the fleadh’s huge potential for encouraging local initiative and community spirit within the host town. “We’re calling on as many locals as possible to get involved, whether it’s playing music, offering accommodation, volunteering or supporting official events. We want the excitement of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to be felt throughout the town.”