Fleadh Cheoil on the way to Louth again
Chief executive Joan Martin eagerly awaiting another great festival for the county as a whole
It brought 500,000 people to the streets of Drogheda last year for a celebration of Irish music, song and dance, and with the official launch last Thursday, details have been released of any even bigger Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019.
The Highlanes Gallery was packed to its splendid rafters as organisers, sponsors and supporters announced plans to extend an even warmer welcome to visitors to the banks of the Boyne from August 11th to 18th.
This year's Fleadh, which is sponsored by the Credit Union, will boast some of the country's most talented musicians, singers and dancers including Nathan Carter, Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill, Damien Dempsey, Horslips and Stocktons Wing, and organisers have worked tirelessly to ensure that this year's event will eclipse the success of last year.
"Considerable investment has again been allocated to the task of staging the Fleadh. The Council will build on the success of last year and expand its scope of work in the town as part of its preparations for 2019. Drogheda will be further transformed in the coming weeks," said Chief Executive of Louth County Council, Joan Martin.
"Hosting the Fleadh in 2018 resulted in significant long-term economic benefits for Drogheda and County Louth. This year's event will shine a spotlight on County Louth and the surrounding region, it will allow us to showcase a town which has transformed over the past decade. County Louth has a long-established and extensive arts, heritage and cultural programme. The Fleadh will further underpin this, whilst also enhancing our flourishing 'Creative Ireland' programme."
Last year, a record half a million people attended the Fleadh from all over the world. Organisers are confident that this record will be smashed.
"We are really looking forward to hosting Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann again this year, as the people of Drogheda and the surrounding areas embraced the 2018 Fleadh with a heart and a half and cannot wait to welcome all the Fleadh visitors to the town in August," added Cathaoirleach of the Fleadh Executive Committee Lolo Robinson.
"There has been a huge increase in all things Irish since the Fleadh last year and as Drogheda Comhaltas is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. I cannot think of a better way to pay tribute to our founding members than hosting Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2019."
Zoe on stage as part of great line up
Many of the country's top performers have been pencilled in for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann including Eleanor McEvoy, Seán Keane and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, with soloist Zoë Conway and guests.
"Failte Ireland is again delighted to support the second year of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019 in Drogheda this August.
"Hosting this event for the second year affords County Louth an unrivalled opportunity to showcase the many things it has to offer to both residents and visitors alike from heritage, culture and Irish tradition," commented Colm Breheny, Ireland's Ancient East Manager, Failte Ireland.
"The momentum and experiences of the wonderful inaugural Fleadh event in Drogheda last year allowed a spotlight to shine on what makes this part of Ireland's Ancient East truly special and we look forward to an even bigger and more successful event in 2019."
This year's Fleadh offers an extensive youth programme which aims to increase student's awareness of Irish culture and tradition and encourage them to become actively involved in the celebrations for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
People are also invited to take part in various other activities surrounding the Fleadh, including the incredibly popular Scoil Éigse, which offers people of all ages the opportunity to participate in workshops and traditional music sessions to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Irish music.
"Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 in Drogheda did us proud," said Dr Labhrás Ó' Murchú, Ardstiúrthóir Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann.
"It was a significant celebration of Irishness, with a record attendance of over 500,000. Fleadh 2019 promises to be even bigger and better and this is testimony to the volunteerism and hospitality of the people of Drogheda."