The 2024 Fleadh will take place from August 4th to August 11th.
Wexford town has been chosen to host the 2024 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, an event that could see up to 700,000 people descend on the town and be worth up to €60 million to the local economy.
There was a distinct Wexford twang to the cheers that rang out at Cúlturlann na hÉireann in Monkstown, the national headquarter of Comhaltas, with the Model County coming out on top having seen off the competition of a comprehensive bid from Belfast.
"We’re absolutely over the moon,” said Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council and PRO of Comhaltas Craobh Loch Garman George Lawlor. “It's been an intensive campaign to get this over the line with the full weight of Comhaltas in Wexford town behind it and the support of members across the county, along with Wexford County Council.
"It’s been a long process but we had intensified the campaign in the past twelve months to ensure that we were able to achieve what is a long-standing ambition.”
While those behind the Wexford bid were quietly confident throughout, they faced stiff competition from north of the border, with Belfast putting over €2.2m behind their bid and even travelling as far as New York to canvass for votes.
"We were up against a real heavyweight in Belfast,” Cllr Lawlor said. “Given the money that was put behind their bid and the fact that it is a UNESCO City of Culture and City of Music 2024, it was always going to be a difficult task.
"However, the professionalism and cohesiveness of the Wexford bid got us over the line and this has the potential to provide a massive boost for the whole county and region. There's obviously a huge financial injection that comes with being the host town, but more than that it's hugely important for the development of Irish traditional music in the county and the growth of our own cultural sector.”
Mr Paddy Berry, President of Craobh Local Garman added, “I have attended over 60 Fleadh Cheoil in my time and I will now realise my dream of filling the streets of Wexford with Irish traditional music, culture, song and dance in 2024. I know that the passion and enthusiasm of our Bid team, Wexford County Council and our partners in the local community will make the Wexford Fleadh a huge success.”
Barbara Walsh, Chairperson of Craobh Loch Garman Comhaltas, thanked the members of the Ard Comhairle for selecting Wexford to host this wonderful event, saying:“ We are thrilled, honoured and humbled by the successful vote we have received from the Ard Comhairle of Comhaltas, both for our town and in the members of our voluntary bid committee who have put in a huge amount of work to help us achieve this result today.
Finally, Chief Executive of Wexford County Council, Mr Tom Enright, said: “Today’s announcement provides strong validation of the work the local Comhaltas branch, the Bid Team and our wider partners have put into this effort. I would like to pay particular tribute to our local elected members, who voted unanimously to provide budgetary support from the Council towards this event which will generate over €50m in the local economy each year.”