Music is in the air (and in all the hotels, libraries, parks, squares, halls, pubs and clubs) of Cavan Town (population 17,750) this week (August 16-22) as the town hosts the 60th Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (All-Ireland Fleadh) – a competition for the best practitioners of traditional Irish music, song and dance.
The Fleadh is being held in Cavan for the first time since 1954, and the excitement is building. More than 250,000 people including 10,000 competitors from all over the world are expected to be in Cavan for this annual event.
Considered the premier festival of Irish traditional music, song and dance, the Fleadh is run by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ), the cultural organization devoted to the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music. CCE has hundreds of local branches throughout the world including the USA, all over Europe, Argentina, Australia, and Japan. It is estimated that this event will generate €20-€25 million for the local economy.
The Fleadh has developed as a mainly competitive event, but also includes concerts, marching bands, parades, pageants, a craft and food village, and street sessions. The local newspaper, the Anglo-Celt, is sponsoring a Street Seisiún buskers' competition.
The emphasis will be on fun and entertainment with traditional music, singers and dancers all encouraged to take part. Judges will be talent-spotting for buskers throughout the week. The final will take place on Market Square in the center of town on Sunday, August 21.
In addition to the non-stop competitions in music, song and dance, the town has dressed up in a big way to greet the visitors from many lands. The main street is decked out with banners and flags and many shop fronts and pubs have commissioned local artists to paint their windows with murals of Irish musical instruments, dancers and other symbols of traditional music. A hand carving of the top of a fiddle has been erected in the center of the main roundabout and even the telephone booth is decorated with Fleadh posters.
Every effort is being made to keep this a “green fleadh,” with all events carried out in an environmentally friendly manner. Supplies will be made from recycled content, and visitors will be asked to and tread lightly (except when dancing).
For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fleadh2010.ie.
Patricia (Pat) Preston has written 23 travel books (15 about Ireland). Her latest book, Ireland Travel 101 (http://www.IrelandTravel101.com) won 1st Place in the Travel Guide category of the North American Travel Journalists Association annual competition this year. Visit Pat’s web site (http://www.IrelandExpert.com).