Build-up to Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2018 begins
'It will be like hosting the Slane Castle concert each day from the Thursday on'
Brace yourself! - Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2018 will be one massive rollercoaster ride - and it begins now.
That's the overwhelming view following last week's preliminary meeting when an outline of the successful Ennis event was relaid to eager ears in the Westcourt Hotel.
And although the workload is going to be immense to cater for the national and worldwide audience, those behind the event feel it's the perfect opportunity to promote Drogheda, not only for 2018, but for years to come.
Padraig Kierans, Deputy Project Director, said one of the main features that came from Ennis was the need for customer care at all times.
This will require training through Bord Failte in some areas.
Lolo Robinson urged retailers, etc, to be 'price conscious' as families attending were on a limited budget.
The policing of the event will be down to An Garda Siochana and Supt Andrew Watters said it was a 'big, big challenge' and they had already made representations for extra resources, with officers likely coming in from Meath and Cavan/Monaghan.
'The success of the week will be the camp site venues and the use of park and ride. This will be like hosting the Slane Castle concert each day from the Thursday,' he added.
Eddie Phelan, who is in charge of the accommodation side of things, said that there were queries for places to stay already and people wete excited to see it in an East coast location. They were in the process of looking at areas for camp sites.
Colette Nugent from the Vintners advised that prices are kept down as Ennis prices were reasonable.
One element that they found in Ennis was that the first year locals believed the place would be thronged and they stayed away from shopping as normal. But the second year, they became totally engaged. Organisers want people from the entire area to embrace the event and be there from the start.
The event will cost in the region of €1.5 to €1.6m to put on and local firms and businesses will be asked to contribute.There will also be fundraising events.
In the build up to next year, local publicans are being advised to start music sessions to get the locals into the mood and already the Grey Goose on West Street has started Monday evening events.
Accommodation needs will be huge and one feature that can come to the fore is the chance for local people to rent out their homes for up to a week.
It was revealed that 400 houses are needed to rent.
Those interested in allowing their home to be rented can make contact with the Fleadh committee. The homes are inspected and if accepted, could earn the homeowner up to €800.
Rooms in houses are also required for the week.
The use of volunteers will also be vital and up to 1,500 people need to be recruited to perform every job possible. Clubs and organisations are all asked to provide helpers.
Various elements will be ironed out, including where the main 'Gig Rig' will be positioned. It attracted up to 15,000 for the launch in Ennis by Michael Flatley.