One of the quieter moments in West Street during the Fleadh Cheoil!
Well that’s the Fleadh done and dusted, what a week! I have to confess I was too tired to stay up for last night’s fireworks though I did hear them from the comfort of my bed.
It was a colourful and noisy full stop to a very colourful and noisy week. Will we ever see the likes of it again?
The overwhelming emotion among local people this morning is one of pride. We showed our town off to its best and the message was not lost on the huge numbers of visitors – 600,000 is the number being mentioned.
It has been a week full of music but the overriding tune of the Drogheda people, many of whom, like myself, know next to nothing about the music, has been along the lines of “it’s great for the town” or “the buzz on the town was deadly.”
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The big question is of course: what will be the legacy of the Fleadh years? Will it just be memories of two crazy weeks or can we build on the experience and make it more than that now we have proved as a community that we can run a huge event in our town?
There must be some way that Drogheda can harness the goodwill and that valuable experience to create our own annual event to entice our visitors back. We’d hardly reach the hundreds of thousands level but surely we can put something together that utilises our unique heritage.
That’s for another day though, this morning is a time for plaudits and heartiest congratulations must go to the organisers, the volunteers, the council workers who kept the town functioning with over ten times its normal population, the bar staff who kept the beer flowing in copious quantities and of course the musicians, the singers and the dancers.
Another outstanding feature was the smoothness of the policing operation. Well done to Superintendent Andy Watters and his “crew in blue” who once again this year became part and parcel of the festival which, apart from one or two idiotic acts of vandalism and of course drunkenness, was remarkably peaceful. Public service at its best, take a bow!
Mayor of Drogheda Paul Bell was this morning full of praise for the Council workers’ efforts.
“I was extremely impressed by the commitment of Council staff, a small team may I add, led by Paddy Donnelly who never failed in any demand and even on many occasions delivered the impossible. The work of the Council outdoor staff was evidently visible ensuring that the streets of our town were cleared of refuse and washed at 4am every morning” he said.
“Our citizens performed their part admirably through 2,000 volunteers providing every service from litter picking to driving, assisting our visitors, manning the venues and most notably the offering of friendship and hospitality.
"As Mayor I am so proud of every for their efforts and I would also like to acknowledge the many volunteers who came from abroad to be part of the Drogheda FLAA experience” said the Mayor.
This morning the President of Drogheda Chamber, Shona McManus, also expressed her deep pride. "I feel inspired, proud and privileged to live and be a part of Drogheda and the fabulous Fleadh Cheoil" she told Drogheda Life.
“My heart is bursting with pride for our town and for all the people who are working so hard to bring Drogheda to the next level and for all the fantastic people who worked so hard for months and months on end to make the Fleadh 2019 a success” she said.
“It has been an amazing success and I feel we should really capitalise on this now to catapult our wonderful town Drogheda to the next level nationally from a credibility, reputational, business and tourism perspective.”
This article was written by Andy Spearman