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Wednesday, 8th August 2018

The Fleadh - Everything you need to know!

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Following a lot of hard work by a lot of dedictaed people Drogheda is looking its best and is ready for the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and the hundreds of thousands of guests that it will attract to the area.

The Fleadh Cheoil is the pivotal event in every traditional Irish musician’s calendar and next week, for the first time, it will be held in Drogheda which is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the population numbers in both Dublin and Belfast.

With over 400,000 people expected to visit the region for the weeklong festival, 30% of which are expected to travel from overseas, organisers are committed to promoting Drogheda and County Louth as a world-class tourist destination.

Drogheda is expected to reap significant economic benefits from the event, with an estimated €40m expected to flow into County Louth as a result of the Fleadh.  The long term benefits will include increased awareness of Drogheda and County Louth as a tourist destination and the forging of strong community ties.

Commenting on Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Dr Labhrás Ó’ Murchú, Ardstiúrthóir Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann said: Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is now the largest and most unique cultural festival in the world. Its significance is cultural, economic and social and it is a tribute to all those who kept our cultural traditions alive down through the decades. Drogheda is an ideal venue for this celebration of whom we are as a people.”

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Colm Breheny, Ireland’s Ancient East Manager, Failte Ireland commented: “Hosting such a prestigious event affords County Louth an unrivalled opportunity to showcase the many things it has to offer to both residents and visitors alike from heritage, culture and Irish tradition. 2018 also marks the first time that the Fleadh will take place on the north east coast of Ireland, allowing us to shine a spotlight on what makes Ireland’s Ancient East truly special.”

Whether attending for one day or the entire week, Drogheda and County Louth as a whole offer a wealth of attractions and the warmest of welcomes to visitors this August. 

Event Line-Up

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 boasts some of the country’s most talented musicians, singers and dancers including Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill, Zoë Conway, Damien Dempsey, Pádraigín Ni Uallacháin, Sibéal Davitt and Gerry O’Connor.

Visitors can look forward to seeing Stockton’s Wing reform for a one-off performance for the first time in decades, whilst Irish traditional band Beoga who were recently announced as the support act for Ed Sheeran’s greatly-anticipated Irish shows, are sure to draw large crowds into Drogheda this August.

This year’s line-up has been described as one of the most exciting to date, with an array of artists of local, national and international significance including the Hot House Flowers, Julie Fowlis, Frankie Gavin, Odhrán Ó Casaide, Mairead and Triona Ni Dhomhnall, Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny, Moya Brennan & Cormac De Barra, Ulaid, The Voice Squad and Sibeal O Casaide. Completing the line-up are Kieran Hanrahan, this year’s recipient of the third The Flanagan Brothers, Michael Holohan, Mick O’Brien & Family, banjo player Stevie Dunne, the RTÉ Contempo Quartet and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in a programme that also celebrates Irish traditional music song and dance and its importance through families and the intergenerational exchange that takes place.

Tickets are now available to purchase for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 and the line-up of events and performances, which will take place every day from Sunday 12th through to Sunday 19th August 2018, is available to view at www.fleadhcheoil.ie

Scoil Eigse

The 46th Annual Scoil Éigse organised by Comhaltas takes place in Drogheda, August 12th to 17th, the week preceding Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. At Scoil Éigse – CCÉ’s annual international Summer School - students of all ages register for the various instrumental music, singing, dancing and Irish language classes. 

There will also be classes for adults where they can learn Amhránaíocht, Banjo, Bodhrán, Button Accordion, Concertina, Fiddle, Flute, Harp, Piano Accompaniment, Piano Accordion, Uilleann Pipes, Rince ar an Sean-nós, Traditional Singing, and the Whistle.

Seachtain na Gaeilge

Make sure to learn a  cúpla focail at this year’s Fleadh Cheoil with the extensive line up of classes, music and chit chat lined up for the week of the Fleadh!

The Irish language has a central role in the activities of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Drogheda. 2018 has been designated as Bliain na Gaeilge and we are proud to present a very full programme of events.

Seachtain na Gaeilge features a wide range of activities for all age groups and all abilities: Irish classes, dancing classes, historical walking tours, lectures, song-writing workshop, fun for all the family, quiz, treasure hunt, Pop up Gaeltacht and music and song in Irish on the gig rig etc..

The Coiste Gaeilge na Fleidhe is very grateful to Foras na Gaeilge for their generous sponsorship of the programme of events for Seachtain na Gaeilge and all are welcome to attend the official launch of the programme of events for Seachtain na Gaeilge on Tuesday at 5pm in the Highlanes Gallery. 

Seachtain na hÉigse

Seachtain na hÉigse is a series of lectures given by reputable hosts  about different aspects of the history of the culture of Ireland. One of the lectures is hosted by Dr. Adele Commins and will surround an evaluation of the legacy of notable musicians who have made a significant contribution to the development of Irish traditional music, very often through their teaching or mentoring of young musicians. 

The speakers will present personal insights, share recordings and perform examples that will illustrate the contribution of selected individuals to the transmission of the tradition. There will be a particular focus on acknowledging and recognising the contribution made by musicians associated with Co.Louth, but figures from throughout the Irish traditional music world will be celebrated. 

Youth Events at the Fleadh

Fleadh Choil na hÉireann Drogheda aims to ensure there is something for the whole family to enjoy throughout the week. There will be a number of Children’s Mid-Morning events hosted in the Barbican Theatre between 11am and 12pm to cater for the children attending the Fleadh. These fun, interactive sessions will be hosted by some wonderful musicians from both Ireland and Scotland and will teach the children a wealth of knowledge about the irish culture through music, song, dance and language.

There is an over 18’s Trad Disco taking place with renowned Trisco DJ Paddy ‘Trad with Pad’ Callaghan at the Electric Ballroom, Drogheda on August 17th.  From Glasgow, Scotland, Paddy blends his love of Irish and Scottish Traditional Music, with dance beats and tunes from around the world to create a unique and thrilling experience.

Paddy spends his time gathering music from every corner of the trad world for his weekly radio show ‘Trad with Pad’ where he often plays some of his more experimental mixes. As an accomplished musician, Paddy has toured the world with his own Trio and with bands such as Barrule and Dallahan. As for a Trisco, If you like trad music and going for a boogy then this really is the perfect mix. 

How to get to Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018

Drogheda is located 30 miles north of Dublin and 70 miles south of Belfast. Getting here is easy, as Drogheda is only 20 minutes from Dublin Airport, and just 1.5 hours from Belfast. A first class modern transport network linking Dublin with Belfast passes directly through Drogheda. Getting here by car, bus or train is easy.  The towns strategic location just off the M1 and its first class public transport links makes it the perfect location for visitors to travel to with ease.

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is urging visitors to use public transport as the town of Drogheda has been pedestrianised to host the influx of visitors throughout the week. If you need to bring your car, there have been a number of park and ride facilities set up to bring you to and from the town. More information on this can be found at  http://fleadhcheoil.ie/plan-your-visit/park-ride.

The train is the perfect way to travel to Drogheda as the Fleadh will take place a short walk from Drogheda station between Dublin and Drogheda, you can sit back, relax and let Irish Rail do the driving. We have teamed up with Irish Rail for this occasion, who will be operating additional evening services throughout the week of the Fleadh. Additional services will be at 23:00 and 01:00 each day.

These additional services will serve the following stops:

  • Drogheda (MacBride)
  • Laytown
  • Gormanston
  • Balbriggan
  • Skerries
  • Rush and Lusk
  • Donabate
  • Malahide
  • Portmarnock
  • Howth Junction and Donaghmede
  • Dublin (Connolly)

Drogheda also has substantial bus services with over 100 coaches to and from Dublin being run each day throughout the Fleadh. Bus Eireann operates frequent Expressway and regulat services to Drogheda from Dublin, Belfast, Dundalk, Galway and Navan. There is an express hourly bus service available from Dublin Airport, which connects the airport with Balbriggan, Julianstown and Drogheda.

If you are visiting the Fleadh from overseas, there are a number of international airlines who operate regular flights to Dublin and Belfast. Drogheda is a 20 minute drive from Dublin Airport and and hour and a half from Belfast International Airport.

Dublin Ferryport is also located a mere 30 minutes drive from Drogheda, whilst Dun Laoghaire Ferryport is an hours drive via the East Link Toll Bridge. The Port of Latne is less than 2 hours drive whilst Rosslare is a 2.5 hour drive to Drogheda.

Disability Access at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann

Measures have been put in place to ensure that Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann caters for everyone in the community. There will be accessible facilities ranging from toilets and changing facilities, transport and parking, safe/quiet spaces, viewing, charging stations for medial equipment available for those who may need assistance and there will also be ambassadors on the ground to attend to any needs. 

Accessibility Car Parks will be available both on Wellington Quay and King Street throughout the Fleadh. Click here to find out more information about these facilities.

Volunteer Programme and Sponsors

Volunteers are key to the success of the Fleadh. Over 1,000 volunteers will get involved in a variety of roles across the week such as competition volunteers, street stewards, Fleadh ambassadors, catering volunteers, Green Fleadh (Fleadh Glas) volunteers and administration support. 

The programme, which is coordinated by the Louth Volunteer Centre and backed by Coca-Cola International Services, invites applications from anyone interested in getting involved in the world’s largest celebration of Irish traditional music and culture.

Jennifer Brennan, CPS Procurement Director, Coca-Cola International Services added: For over 40 years Coca-Cola International Services has played a significant role in supporting the local community here in Drogheda and so we are delighted to demonstrate our on-going commitment to Drogheda through the sponsorship of the Volunteer Programme for this year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann!” 

Volunteers will play a pivotal role in not only the success of the Fleadh but in showing off Drogheda and the whole North East region in its best light. By joining the Fleadh Volunteer Programme, participants can look forward to becoming part of a family of volunteers, have fun and meet new people, whilst also showcasing the very best that this year’s festival has to offer. 

Applications are now open to people aged 15 years and older – there is no upper limit! Volunteer shifts vary in length from 4 – 8 hours and all volunteers must attend mandatory training, which is scheduled for July and August, in advance of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Click here to register your interest in becoming a volunteer.  

The Chairperson of the Fleadh Executive Committee, Lolo Robinson said: “I am delighted at the level of interest shown by the community who have come forward in large numbers expressing an interest in getting involved in Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. 

“The people of County Louth are no strangers to opening up their homes to visitors and giving them a céad mile fáilte to remember.” 

The Fleadh Executive Committee, in conjunction with Louth County Council, made a point of working with the local business community to maximise the significant opportunities hosting Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann offers, from both an economic and tourism perspective. 

The Credit Unions sponsorship of the Fleadh in 2018 ties in with its not-for-profit ethos and puts it at the very centre of the community supporting organisations, charities and events such as the Fleadh. 

Speaking on behalf of the collective group of Credit Unions across the North East sponsoring Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Tom Kiely, CEO, Drogheda Credit Union commented: “It is very exciting that a group of Credit Unions across the North East have come together to be Main Sponsor for the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018.  Drogheda Credit Union and Dundalk Credit Union have teamed up with Credit Unions across Louth, Meath & North Dublin to support our communities for this massive event, tying in with our not-for-profit ethos and role at the very heart of our communities.  

“The Credit Union consistently aim to support community enhancing events and the Fleadh 2018 event in Drogheda is a unique opportunity to become part of a much wider initiative showcasing Drogheda and the surrounding areas as places of beauty, culture and go to tourist destinations. This is the first year in its history that the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann has come to County Louth and we have no doubt it will be a wonderful event to all to enjoy.” 

Hundreds of volunteers signed up in order to help stage this year’s Fleadh and ensure that Drogheda offers a memorable and enjoyable experience. Louth County Council commended the people of Drogheda and the surrounding region for coming together as a community in order to build a world-class event, which showcases the region as a must-visit destination. 

Fleadh Glas

Fleadh Glas is an initiative that has been introduced to promote the protection of the environment throughout Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

Fleadh Glas urges attendees to take part in preventing and segregating waste, as well as consuming less water and energy. It encourages all visitors to limit their impact on the environment and protect the future of Ireland.

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