Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann set for County Clare this month

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is the most important event in the traditional music calendar, taking place from August 14th – 22nd. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is honoured that Michael D. Higgins, Uachtarán na hÉireann is officially opening this year’s festival in Ennis, County Clare.

For many, it is the culmination of months of hard work and practice as they compete against fellow musicians, singers and dancers to achieve the recognition of being an All-Ireland champion. For others it is a unique and welcoming festival of the best of traditional arts that offers a wide range of activities to be enjoyed by all.

  • 400,000 visitors expected in Ennis over 9 days
  • 10,000 musicians
  • 6000 participating in 180 competitions in search of All Ireland Glory!
  • 1,000 volunteers
  • 2,000 seat Dome
  • 28 concerts

Shannon Airport has come on board as main sponsor for the Fleadh.  Thousands of visitors from all parts of the world can expect a great homecoming as they make way through Shannon Airport on route to Ennis. Supermac’s who are well known supporters of many cultural and sporting events have become the Fleadh’s Gold sponsor. Both sponsorships, together with support from Fáilte Ireland and the business community, are a vote of confidence in the Fleadh and a recognition of its growing cultural and economic significance. It is expected that this year’s Fleadh will generate €38 million for the local economy.  As the 2016 event will cost €1.1 million to stage,  sponsorship by major companies is hugely significant.

The All-Ireland Fleadh has been held in Ennis on two previous occasions, in 1956 and 1977, and both were landmark events in the history of Irish traditional music. Now Ennis is hosting Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann once again and the Fleadh Executive Committee is tasked with organisational responsibility in conjunction with Clare County Council, Gardaí, Statutory Bodies, Consultants, Business and Local Communities.

“We are witnessing a great community Meitheal to ensure that The Fleadh Down In Ennis is the best Fleadh ever,” said Micheál O Riabhaigh, Chairman of the Fleadh Executive Committee. “It is a great privilege and an even greater responsibility to host this incredible event. I welcome all our visitors to Ennis and sincerely hope the music and the craic will be mighty and that everybody will have a happy and a safe time in our town and county.”

Up to 6,000 competitors will play, sing or dance for All Ireland in 180 competitions. They come from all over Ireland and abroad with a significant contingent from the United States. Teaching and handing on the tradition is central to the Comhaltas mission. All competitions and competitors have their own following of family, friends, supporters and enthusiasts but there is no doubt that on Sunday 21st August, all roads lead to the big Dome for a fantastic night of ceol and competition. There is nothing quite like the Senior Céilí Bands as they battle for All -Ireland glory.

Scoil Éigse is the official summer school organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann where Irish people and international students of all ages register for the various instrumental music, singing, dancing and Irish language classes. The school provides workshops, lectures and sessions during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. It is the flagship event in the Comhaltas Education programme.

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2016 has assembled a feast of top performers for a series of concerts over the nine days of the Fleadh.  Quality concerts and other events have developed over the years as a key element of the All Ireland Fleadh in addition to competitions and street sessions. Among the leading names this year in Ennis are Martin Hayes, Maura O’Connell, Stockton’s Wing, Frankie Gavin, The Kilfenora Céilí Band and Cherish the Ladies. There are 28 concerts in total, of which 17 will be staged in Glór, the premier performance space in Ennis. A special Dome at Tim Smyth Park in the centre of Ennis can seat 2,000 people. This is the venue for five major events including Beoga/Crunniú, The Kilfenora Céilí Band, Stockton’s Wing/Maura O’Connell, the Senior Céilí Band Competition and Cherish the Ladies.

Huge levels of volunteerism are necessary to support the running of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2016.  Over 1,000 volunteers have been recruited in major campaign organised by the Clare Volunteer Centre which is responsible for the training and co-ordination of Fleadh volunteers.

Fleadh TV is broadcast live from 8.30pm to 11.30pm over four nights from Thursday 18th to Sunday 21st of August on TG4 as well as live on tg4.tv and on the fleadh website  fleadhcheoil.ie  This year sees the addition of a mobile camera crew who will be in a different Clare location each night.

For more information on this event, visit www.fleadhcheoil.ie