THE WORLD'S largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance, Fleadh Cheoil, has today officially launched its programme in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
Taking place between 31 July and 8 August 2022, the Fleadh is making its return after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic and is expected to see thousands of people visit the midlands town and its surrounding areas. Mullingar is also the town where Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann was founded in 1951, making the return to the town even more special.
The people of Westmeath will welcome both local and international musicians and attendees to the county, and are anticipating a huge visitor numbers to events and competitions throughout the week which will be opened by President Michael D Higgins.
Some of the programme highlights include Martin Hayes and the Common Ground Ensemble, Sharon Shannon, The Bridge Céilí Band, Moxie, Kilfenora Céili Band and Frankie Gavin and Catherine McHugh to name but a few.
However, the most important events are the 150 competitions where people from all over the world compete through music, song, dance and Comhrá Gaeilge. The event will feature two ‘Gig Rigs’ in the town, street performances and cultural events in various venues throughout the town and workshops, lectures and sessions during the week of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Speaking at the Fleadh launch event, Fleadh Executive Committee Chairperson Joe Connaire said:
"We are delighted to host this year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Mullingar. It’s been a long two-year wait but we know the people of Mullingar and the surrounding county will pull out all the stops to make this Homecoming something very special."
"We’re calling on as many locals as possible to get involved – whether it’s playing music, offering accommodation, volunteering or supporting official events," he continued.
"We want the excitement of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to be felt throughout the town. Being a proud musician and having attended fleadhs since the mid 80s, I know it's a brilliant week that everyone can enjoy, so we’d love to see everyone out and about experiencing all the Fleadh has to offer."
The event is organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and will be hosted in Mullingar by the local Fleadh Executive Committee with the association of Westmeath County Council. It is also supported by Fáilte Ireland and Hidden Heartlands who promote the infinite variety of things to do for all ages in the heart of Ireland.
"Fáilte Ireland is pleased to support this year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann as it returns to Mullingar," said Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals at Fáilte Ireland.
"The week-long celebration of traditional Irish music and culture is a brilliant opportunity for visitors to experience the best of what Mullingar and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands has to offer."
Organisers also say there is a huge need for accommodation for both visitors and musicians, which can come in the form of a room in a house or a holiday home that is vacant. Those interested in offering a property, a room, or rooms, to visitors can register their accommodation on the fleadhcheoil.ie website.