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Hothouse Flowers’ dash from Glastonbury to play gig in Sligo

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Lead singer with the Hothouse Flowers, Liam O'Maonlaí on stage at the concert in Stephen Street Car Park last Saturday night. Pic: Donal Hackett.

Lead singer with the Hothouse Flowers, Liam O'Maonlaí on stage at the concert in Stephen Street Car Park last Saturday night. Pic: Donal Hackett.

The Hothouse Flowers on stage in Sligo last Saturday night. Pic: Donal Hackett.

The Hothouse Flowers on stage in Sligo last Saturday night. Pic: Donal Hackett.

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Lead singer with the Hothouse Flowers, Liam O'Maonlaí on stage at the concert in Stephen Street Car Park last Saturday night. Pic: Donal Hackett.

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From their first song on Saturday last, when Liam Ó Maonlaí sang the line, ‘I can see clearly now the rain has gone,’ it was obvious that Hothouse Flowers were going to lift the crowd no matter what the weather threw at them. And so it continued, and throughout their 90 minute set, they produced classics as well as new songs, traditional music and more to have the crowd in StephenStreet Car Park on Saturday night, dancing and singing along in their wet gear, oblivious to the falling rain.

It was a great show,” said Peter Farrell of the Connacht Fleadh team.

“We knew when we booked Hothouse Flowers that we were getting a band that not only would draw a crowd but would entertain no matter what. The musicians in the band started their careers with traditional Irish music and at Fleadhanna, so we knew we were going to have a great night and that’s exactly what we had.”

Just the previous evening, Hothouse Flowers had played at the legendary Glastonbury Festival in the UK. They then took an early flight on Saturday morning, arriving at lunchtime to sound check ahead of their gig. A busy 24 hours for these legends of Irish rock music.

The Flowers were just one of the many bands who took to the stage over the weekend. Sligo home grown talent was in the form of Moxie and The Unwanted, and Téada brought the curtain down on the gig rig with a great traditional set on Sunday night.

“It was amazing being part of the Connacht Fleadh,” said Oisín Mac Diarmada of Téada. “We struggled a bit with the conditions, and fair play to the crowd, they stayed with us and we hope that they all enjoyed their first taste of a live outdoor session here in Sligo in a good while.”

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The Connacht Fleadh also brought the Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra of Ireland to town. They played an emotional concert in tribute to Ashling Murphy, a former member, who was brutally killed in Tullamore earlier this year. Ashling was a very talented musician who had competed at several Fleadhanna over the years, and this concert was a beautiful tribute to her memory and her music.

Another highlight featured the Céilí Mór, with the Blackwater Céilí Band. Audience members, young and old, Sligo people and visitors alike, took to the dance stage in front of the gig rig for old favourites like ‘The Siege of Ennis’ and ‘Shoe the Donkey.’ No matter whether you were an expert céilí dancer or a first timer, everyone had a smile on their faces as they completed those sets.

“I’d like to pay tribute to everyone involved who delivered the Connacht Fleadh despite the challenges posed by the weather,” said Bartley Gavin of the Connacht Fleadh committee.

“We had just about everything, but from the technical team to the performers, the audience to the Civil Defence and our volunteers, we had huge goodwill from everyone involved. It was a great weekend, and it does show that there is an appetite for large scale outdoor events in Sligo, and we look forward with a positive outlook to more events like these in the future.”

The Connacht Fleadh also ran a large number of competitions over the weekend, and some of those involved will now qualify for the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Mullingar in August.

The programme also had many other highlights, including recitals and lunchtime sessions, and a number of other events will take place later in the week, including walks, a film screening of ‘The Lost Children of the Carricks’ in the Coach House Hotel in Ballymote, and a tribute event for Gerry McGwyne, a great supporter of Sligo music and culture, originally from Calry and now based in New York.

For details on upcoming events, please visit www.connachtfleadh.ie.


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