Song, dance and music are back on the streets of Mullingar this week, as Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann wraps up the summer in style.
This year’s celebration of his itinerant festival is named “The Homecoming,” as the town was the first to host Fleadh more than 70 years ago in 1951.
Held for the first time after a two-year absence due to the pandemic, Fleadh is the world’s largest celebration of Irish music, language and heritage.
It is predicted that half a million visitors will journey to the town of Co Westmeath for the duration of the festival.
The event is organized by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and is being run in conjunction with Westmeath County Council and the local Fleadh executive committee.
Have céad mile fáilte wherever you are. There is music everywhere. Music in the air and music in our hearts
Senator and general manager of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Labhrás Ó Murchú, said that the festival’s return to Mullingar brings with it the pride of the community.
“Everywhere you go, there is a céad mile fáilte. There is music everywhere. Music in the air and music in our hearts.
“So back here to celebrate 1951, we are remembering the visionaries of that time.
“It was a very difficult task, it was another island. But they decided to light a spark and that spark became a big fire,” said Senator Ó Murchú.
Concerts, céilís, talks and exhibitions are all on the week’s list.
Video of the day
Artists from around the world will participate in 150 contests that run through Sunday.
Musicians of all ages are welcome to participate in the events, with regular gatherings set to take place in the coming days.
Sonya Moorehead, her two sons and her husband made the journey to Westmeath from West Yorkshire.
From the original Co Down, she decided to take her children to their first Fleadh.
Her two sons sat on the grass, one with the guitar in his hand and the other with his coat.
“One of them plays Xam in a folk group near where we live, but the other plays the trumpet in a brass band. We have to give him something,” she laughed, gesturing toward bodhrán. “I’m from the North so I didn’t really get that much of a legacy growing up, so I really wanted them to get a taste of it.”
“Ireland is great, we feel very welcome. Thank you
One of yesterday’s main events was a musical performance from Ukrainian refugees who have settled in Mullingar.
Embellished in blues and yellows and mainly performing in their mother tongue, this band sang with such passion that the language barrier was no longer relevant. In front of a mostly Irish crowd, almost every audience member was in tears.
Viktoria Hurska (26) fled her hometown of Kyiv three months ago and moved to Mullingar. She led a large part of the song.
“Ireland is great, we feel very welcome. Thank you. They all try to help in any way they can. Not many of us know this language. I try to help as many people as I can, but a lot of them who come from the war have a bit of a strain on that (language). But every Irish person I have met has been very welcoming,” Ms. Hurska said.
Ms. Hurska was awarded the Fleadh Cheoil Teastas Award. Senator Ó Murcú explained: “It is a certificate of service that we normally give to the Irish. “We thought it was an ideal opportunity to welcome our friends from Ukraine.”
Fleadh executive committee chairman Joe Connaire said: “Traditional Irish music is our culture. They sang some lovely songs as part of their culture. Music is for everyone, music is for sharing. We shared a little bit with them, they shared a little bit with us, and hopefully that can continue into the future. “
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/the-spark-they-lit-is-now-a-huge-flame-fleadh-back-in-mullingar-for-the-first-time-since-it-all-began-there-71-years-ago-41888856.html ‘The spark they lit is now a big fire’: Fleadh returns to Mullingar for the first time since it all started there 71 years ago