Friday 19 January 2018

Fiddle-playing Muslim cleric steals show at Fleadh

Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini
Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini

Greg Harkin

A fiddle-playing Muslim cleric from London stole the show on the closing day of the All-Ireland Fleadh with his 
seas-nos singing.

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hussaini, an imam, beguiled the crowds as the festival came to an official end.

"It was my very first Fleadh," said Muhammad.

"It has been an enormous privilege to be here. I'm very close with the Irish community in London and that's why I got involved."

While the 2014 All-Ireland Fleadh officially ended last night, there will be ceoil agus craic for a few more days yet, organisers insisted.

The Sligo event drew in crowds in excess of 180,000 over the past eight days but there will be more fun to be had as many of the musicians stay on in the north-west until later in the week.

Thousands of people thronged the streets of the town yesterday as dozens of marching bands paraded past.

A farewell ceili dance will take place tonight.

"But the Fleadh's never 
really over for a while yet," said Bartley Gavin, chair of this year's event.

"A lot of the musicians will stay on, many for the rest of this week."

The Fleadh audience and participants came from all corners of the globe and from different cultural backgrounds.

Molly O'Riordan (17) 
from New York won gold 
in the U18 singing in English.

"This is my third year here and I've had two third-place finishes before so I'm thrilled to win," she said.

The White Hag Brewery Company, which launched 'Fleadh Ale', says more than 5,000 pints were drunk in the past week.

Irish Independent

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