Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The local organising Connacht Fleadh committee have announced the revised dates for the Connacht Fleadh which will now take place in Ballina from Friday June 23rd – July 2nd 2023.

The local Fleadh committee are working tirelessly in putting together a 10 day packed programme of events which will include workshops, Ceili’s, street entertainment and pub sessions.

A major Fleadh street festival is planned for the centre of the town headed by Mark O’Donnell from Bofield CCE during the week leading into the Fleadh and will be unveiled at a later date.

An Uilleann piping event has now been confirmed and will take place in “The Merry Monk” on Sunday June 25th. Achill-based Uilleann Pipe-Maker John Butler will give a demonstration on the making of the pipes and the materials used to build a full set of pipes. This will be followed by “Try-out the Uilleann pipes session by” Na Piobairi Uilleann” from Dublin and everybody young and old are invited to try out the pipes.

A large number of beginners sets of pipes will be made available by Na Piobairi Uilleann to anybody wishing to try out the pipes for the piping day. This will then be followed by a lecture by historian Michael Kelly on the history of Uilleann Piping in Co Mayo over the past two centuries. This event is open to all members of the public.

Joint-PRO’s Eamonn Walsh and Clr John O’Hara are appealing to traditional musicians from all over Ireland and in particular Mayo and Connacht musicians all over the world to come to Ballina next year for the Fleadh.

“We are also contacting Mayo Associations and the 450 branches of Comhaltas worldwide to support the Fleadh and come to Ballina and make the event a mini-All-Ireland Fleadh”

The Moy Valley and Bofield branches of Comhaltas have joined forces to stage the event.

Speaking at a recent Fleadh meeting Fleadh Chairman John McDonnell, Vice-chairman Conor Maheady and Michael O’Donnell Chairman of Bofield Comhaltas said “We are honoured to stage this prestigious event and be part of the 300th centenary of Ballina.”

It is believed the staging of the Connacht Fleadh in Ballina is a stepping-stone to another All-Ireland Fleadh which was last staged in Ballina in 1997 and 1998.

Over 2,000 competitors will compete in the Fleadh competitions in the qualifying stages of the All-Ireland Fleadh on July 1st and 2nd next year.

PRO Eamonn Walsh thanked Declan Turnbull, head of Ballina Municipal District and Cllr John O’Hara, for bringing the local Comhaltas branches together, which resulted in a successful application to host the 2023 Connacht Fleadh.

Annette Maughan, CEO of Moy Valley Resources, members of the Ballina 2023 committee, Mags Downey and the Ballina Chamber of Commerce have all given their full backing and will be actively involved in the running of the Fleadh. The cost of staging the event is in the region of €90,000.

The PRO added that ‘messages of congratulations have been pouring in from traditional musicians from all over Ireland including a message from a Mayo musician living in San Francisco, who have all indicated that they will come to Ballina for the Fleadh in 2023. Many expressing fond memories of the All-Ireland Fleadhanna in Ballina in 1997 and 1998’.

Walsh said he believes that due to Covid, and the cancellation of the Fleadhanna over the past two years, musicians are eagerly looking forward to attending the Fleadhanna and he believes they will be greater and better.

Anybody requesting further information on Fleadh Ballina can contact 087-2775317

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