Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 is the largest celebration of Irish music, song and dance in the world and has been launched in Drogheda, Co.Louth today, Tuesday 1st May 2018. This year’s Fleadh, which is sponsored by the Credit Union, will be held from 12th – 19th of August and 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.
Today’s launch marks the first time Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann will be held on the north east coast of the country and organisers have worked tirelessly to ensure that this year’s event will offer a unique and memorable experience for the whole family to enjoy. 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.
Aoife Ruane, Chair of the Programme Committee said: "We have taken great pleasure and pride in exploring and preparing the concert programme for this year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann; reflecting the immense wealth of talent, experience, and ingenuity in traditional Irish music today, and in particular highlighting the work of artists in the Oriel Region. Drogheda is situated at the southern end of the ancient kingdom of Oriel, stretching northwards across borders and boundaries to Armagh. It is one of the richest areas of traditional music in Ireland and has a wealth of music collected in manuscript and transmitted orally down through generations.”
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 offers Drogheda and the surrounding region a unique opportunity to showcase itself on both a national and international stage. With over 400,000 people expected to visit the region for the week-long 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.
Colm Breheny, Ireland’s Ancient East Manager, Failte Ireland commented:“Failte Ireland is delighted to support Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 in Drogheda this August. Hosting such a prestigious event affords County Louth an unrivaled 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.”
The Chief Executive of Louth County Council, Joan Martin commented:“Hosting Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann for two consecutive years is an honour for County Louth and the town of Drogheda. It also offers signiciant economic benefits for the area, with an estimated €40million expected to flow into County Louth as a result of the festival.
“Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann will shine a spotlight on the region, affording us an opportunity to cement the area as a must-visit destination for both domestic and international visitors. County Louth has a long-established and extensive arts, heritage and cultural programme and the Fleadh will further underpin this, whilst also enhancing our flourishing ‘Creative Ireland’ programme.”
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 Quartlet 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.
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.”
Drogheda is a town built on community spirit. It is a vibrant town driven by a positive outlook, nestling in a tranquil oasis of heritage and culture. Its enthusiasm and can-do attitude has never been more evident than when it was announced that the Fleadh would be coming to Ireland’s biggest town this August. The many community and voluntary groups of Louth were not found wanting when asked to help with the mammoth task of organising the biggest celebration of Irish culture in the world.
In addition to the army of volunteers, who are instrumental in the planning and staging of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the local community are also being encouraged to get involved in this years festivities. With hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend this summer’s event, residents in Drogheda and the surrounding region are being urged to rent out their homes or spare rooms to people searching for accommdation.
People are also invited to take part in various other activities surrounding the Fleadh, including the incredibly popular Scoil Éigse, which offers people of all ages the opportunity to participate in workshops and traditional music sessions to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Irish music. It is estimated that approximately 900 musicians will attend Scoil Éigse workshops in Drogheda this August.
This year’s Fleadh offers an extensive youth programme which aims to increase student’s awareness of Irish culture and tradition and encourage them to become actively involved in the celebrations for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. The school children of Drogheda and the surrounding region are leading the charge when it comes to participation and initiative, by taking part in musical events and arts and crafts programmes with their local communities.
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 fáilteto remember.”
Speaking on behaf 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 hEireann 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 hEireann has come to County Louth and we have no doubt it will be a wonderful event to all to enjoy.”
Jennifer Brennan, CPS Procurement Director, Coca-Coa 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!”
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.
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