Fleadh Cheoil gets the rhythm going

By William O'Connor

IT WAS an exciting and successful week of competitions, concerts, céilithe, sessions and more at the 2018 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

Over 500,000 people thronged the streets of Drogheda over the past eight days, while tens of thousands of people attended the special opening by President Michael D Higgins.

The town pulsed with Irish rhythm and revelry as age-old traditions were celebrated by new generations and the vibrancy of the Fleadh emanated throughout the streets.

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Judith Cummins from CCE Craobh Naithi who came second 

This is the first time in the Fleadh’s 68-year history that the All-Ireland Fleadh has been held in Drogheda.

Every year, the Fleadh provides a cultural meeting place for those who carry the great traditions of Irish music, song and dance in their hearts.

Amongst the local interest was Caoilte Mac Muiris, CCÉ Craobh Naithí from Rathfarnham who was second in Foinn Mhalla Feadóg Mhór/Flute Slow Airs (15-18 years).

MacMuiris was also third in the Feadóg Mhór/Flute (15-18 years).

Ciara Ní Ghréacháin, from Rathfarnham club CCÉ Craobh Naithí was second in the English Singing (Ladies) / Amhráin Bhéarla (Mná) (Under 12 years) while Judith Ní Choimín from CCÉ Craobh Naithí was also second in the Amhránaíocht ar an Sean Nós (Mná) / Irish Singing (Ladies) (12-15 years).

The CCÉ Craobh Naithí group is based at St Colmcille’s Community School on the Scholarstown Road.

Cathal Ó hEachtighearna, CCÉ Craobh Leamhcáin was third Foinn Mhalla Feadóg Mhór / Flute Slow Airs (12-15 years) and he was also second Feadóg / Whistle (12-15 years).

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Caoilte Mac Muiris of Rathfarnham

Lolo Robinson, Chairperson of the Fleadh Executive Committee said, “It has been a great privilege to host this fantastic event and showcase Drogheda’s beauty and history to a global audience.

"I would like to thank everyone from the many voluntary groups to the visitors to Drogheda, and I sincerely hope that everybody had a wonderful, safe and happy time in our town and county.”

Dr Labhrás Ó Murchú, Ard-stiúrthóir, Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann said, “In the region of 500,000 people have attended the Fleadh over eight days, possibly the largest attendance in the history of the Fleadh Cheoil.

"A feature of this year’s Fleadh is the widespread representation from countries worldwide, countries such as Japan, North America, Britain and Australia.

"In fact, over 25 per cent of those attending are from out of State, helping to generate an estimated €40 million for the local economy. The Fleadh is a model of partnership between Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann and Louth County Council.”

Traditional musicians, dancers, singers and story-tellers

At the core of the Fleadh are the competitions that see traditional musicians, dancers, singers and story-tellers of all ages and backgrounds competing at All-Ireland level, following victories at regional competitions.

This year over 7,000 competitors played, sang or danced for All-Ireland titles in 180 competitions.

The standards were high and the music more than lived up to the expectations of judges who had a very difficult job choosing winners for each category and competition.

Scoil Éigse, the official summer school organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, ran throughout the week with almost 900 Irish and international students of all ages taking part in various music, singing, dancing and Irish language classes.

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