Wednesday 22 May 2019

'150,000 people will be on the streets of town on August 18'

Hubert Murphy

Appeals have been made for Drogheda not to become a 'rip off town' for the duration of this year's Fleadh in August, with business owners being asked to sign up to a charter of best practice.

At a well attended business meeting in the Westcourt Hotel last week, Fleadh figures said the town should be a welcoming experience for the visitors from all around the world.

Lolo Robinson said the Fleadh is workshop based for a week and the serious competitions then run for three days, from the 17th, 18th and 19th of August.

'From Thursday evening on it gets very busy,' she stated.

But the mood of the meeting was very much inclusion with the local community asked to come out and enjoy the biggest annual spectacle in the country.

Up to €1.5m is needed to run the event and the credit unions in the region have already rowed in as main sponsors. A number of others have also been secured.

Louth County Council and Chief Executive Joan Martin were praised for the way they have backed the idea of staging the Fleadh in the county from the very first meetings some years ago.

Gavin Duffy said that felt the town would attract 150,000 on the Saturday of the Fleadh, due to the town's proximity to Dublin and Northern Ireland, with day-trippers in abundance.

He said he wanted the town to be 'clever' about how it did business and didn't want people 'ringing Joe Duffy' and complaining about the price of burgers!

A number of suggestions were made about what the town should do, including opening the likes of the former Xtravision at the Haymarket and Supervalu in Stockwell Street for large scale sessions.

Supt Andrew Watters said that the gardai won't be taking over the event with a large security presence as they were keen to allow people to enjoy themselves.

A number of key elements concerning the Fleadh were again explained with stages at St Dominic's Park, Fleadh TV down at the port and at the Crescent.

It's the newly developed theatre at the former Star and Crescent and will take up to 600 people.

There will be a park and ride service in operation from an area at Rosehall on the Monasterboice side, the former Coca-Cola site on the Donore Road and at the Marsh Road , which has been deemed a park and stroll.

It was also revealed that Drogheda's reach for the week will stretch to 92 countries with an audience of 16.5 million people.

Ultimately, the organisers see it as a platform to promote Drogheda and hope people will return in the years ahead.

Drogheda Independent