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President Higgins: Fleadh is ‘truly a community event… which enhances local and national pride in who we are as a nation’

LGBTQ Inside Ireland

'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 .'

Thousands, including Taoiseach, attend Belfast Pride Parade

LGBTQ Inside Ireland

'Thousands of people attended the annual Belfast Pride parade on Saturday 03 August, which saw the Taoiseach take part in his first Pride march in the city and also the Rainbow flag fly on Belfast City Hall for the first time.The Pride parade has taken place in Belfast since 2001.From around 100 people in the first parade to around 55,000 people in 2018, Belfast Pride has come a long way.Indeed, organisers claim the Belfast Pride Parade is the ‘biggest cross community parade in Belfast and the single biggest parade in the city, the main event in the LGBT+ calendar’. Belfast Pride (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) The parade itself was part of the Belfast Pride Festival, which runs over 100 events across 10 days.Organisers say the event is a ‘protest and a celebration, a call for equality, a stand for solidarity and a celebration of the lives of LGBT+ people in Belfast’. Pride flag In June 2019, Belfast Councillors took the decision to flag the Rainbow flag over Belfast City Hall for the first time, and as dawn broke, the Lord Mayor, Sinn Féin’s John Finucane was present for the raising of the flag.Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane helps staff raise the Pride flag over Belfast City Hall (Pic: John Finucane via Twitter) An Taoiseach later met with the Lord Mayor at the event, as Leo Varadkar attended his first Belfast Pride Parade.He Tweeted: “Biggest march in Northern Ireland is not orange or green, it’s rainbow coloured.This is NI at its best.Best of Britishness and Irishness.” The Taoiseach also met with the partner of the late Lyra McKee, Sara Canning.Taoiseach Leo Varadkar getting selfies at the Belfast Pride parade (Pic: Leo Varadkar via Twitter) First for island of Ireland The event saw many community groups, unions, and businesses take part in the parade, which left Custom House Square towards Donegal Place.Organisers said there were cameras along the route with high vantage points to stream the entire parade live, a ‘first for Pride events across the island of Ireland’. Belfast City Hall was Belfast City Hall lit up for Belfast Pride (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) The event finished with a concert in Customs House Square, with DJ Robert Brown among others performing on stage.Rights Northern Ireland remains the only jurisdiction on these isles that does have legislation permitting same-sex marriage.Couples can have a Civil Partnership only.Therefore, there was a political element to the parade, with Amnesty NI, Love Equality NI, and some of the political parties taking part and carrying signs with various slogans calling for ‘Rights for All’ and ‘Pride is Protest’.   Amnesty Sign held up at Pride (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) Last month some leading NGOs and civic society groups in Northern Ireland welcomed the vote in the House of Commons on 09 July which requires UK legislation to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland unless a Stormont Executive is formed by 21 October 2019.Under the legislation, the Government will be obliged to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland unless devolution is restored by that October deadline.Related story: Leading NGO groups welcome House Of Commons vote on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland Features: Equal Marriage Campaign in Northern Ireland . The post Thousands, including Taoiseach, attend Belfast Pride Parade appeared first on Inside Ireland .'