President Higgins: Fleadh is ‘truly a community event… which enhances local and national pride in who we are as a nation’
'President Michael D Higgins has opened Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019 in Drogheda, Co Louth on August 11 describing the Fleadh as ‘truly a community event…which enhances local and national pride in who we are as a nation and how we celebrate the best and most imaginative aspects of our Irishness’. The official opening of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019 by President Higgins took place at Bolton Square, in Drogheda, for the 68th year of the Fleadh.Organisers said that over the last few years, the numbers attending Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann ‘have grown significantly with in excess of 250,000 attending the Fleadhanna in Cavan and in excess of 400,000 attending in Derry in 2013.According to figures, Drogheda hosted half a million people at last year’s Fleadh.President Higgins opening Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019 August 11 2019 (Pic: @fleadhcheoil via Twitter) Around 6,000 competitors will take part in the competitive aspect of the Fleadh, from 25,000 who competed at 43 County and Provincial level Fleadhanna Ceoil worldwide.Drogheda hosting Fleadh for 2nd year Joan Martin, Chief Executive, Louth County Council she was ‘delighted’ to again welcome Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to Drogheda for the second time. “The success of the Fleadh in 2018 proved that the Fleadh continues to be Ireland’s premier family event and which Louth County Council are delighted to be associated with,” she said. “Celebrating this week long festival will bring economic benefits not only for the County but the entire region.” In his speech President Higgins paid tribute to volunteers and to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the latter which started in Mullingar in 1951, and now has branches and affiliates throughout the world.The established overseas Comhaltas networks in the UK, the USA, Canada and Australia are now joined by those in Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Russia and Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland.Trad has secured its elements In a wide-ranging speech, President Higgins spoke of the internationalism of the Fleadh. “I have been informed that a Céilí Band from Japan, set dancers from the former Czechoslovakia, a harmonica player from the Netherlands, and a flute player from Singapore competed with the annual qualifiers from North America, Britain and Ireland in the various 180-plus Fleadh competitions,” he told the crowd gathered.Then turning to traditional Irish music, the President spoke of the variety of indigenous instruments, including the bodhrán, the fiddle, the harp, the tin whistle and the uilleann pipes.A traditional music outdoor session (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) ” Irish musical history is indeed a rich and proud one, having remained vibrant through the 20th and into the 21st century, drawn from its migrant experiences and, despite globalising cultural forces, retained the distinctive fundamentals of its genre.This is in spite of emigration and a well-developed interaction with musical influences from Britain and America.Irish traditional music has secured and enhanced its elements while influencing many forms of music, such as country and roots music, which in turn have had influence on modern rock and popular music.” -President Higgins The President spoke of the early records of native musicians and singers and how, in modern times the appreciation of music-makers and performers is ‘very much still with us’ and how the tradition has been kept alive by folk groups such as The Dubliners, and singer-songwriters like Christy Moore and the late Luke Kelly, who sang of life stories and the history of the Irish people.Following the launch, there was a special performance of song and dance in the Coca-Cola Fleadh Concert Dome on Sunday evening.Thousands are expected to visit Drogheda over the week, with Louth County Council advising motorists to plan the journey in advance due to road closures.Visitors can download maps of traffic management plans in place during the Fleadh for the various days here: http://fleadhcheoil.ie/plan-your-visit/traffic-parking-maps/ To find out what’s on during the week, you can see the page on the Fleadh Cheoil website: https://fleadhcheoil.ticketsolve.com/shows (Please note InsideIreland.ie is not responsible for the content of external websites) . The post President Higgins: Fleadh is ‘truly a community event… which enhances local and national pride in who we are as a nation’ appeared first on Inside Ireland .'