UK winners among the many thousands to take part in the All-Ireland fleadh in Ennis
The 64th Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann ended its return to Ennis on Sunday on a triumphant and joyful note. The week long celebration of traditional Irish music and story telling was celebrated by an estimated 400,000 people who visited Ennis over its nine days.
Among the visitors was President Michael D Higgins who went to school in the town.
In all, some 10,000 musicians took part, 6,000 of them participating in 180 All Ireland competitions. An estimated €38 million was spent in Ennis during the Fleadh as 80,000 visitors were in Ennis at any one time.
There were 28 concerts, of which 5 were held in the 2,000 seater Shannon Aerodome at Tim Smythe Park and a thousand volunteers greeted visitors, acted as stewards, litter pickers Faces of the Fleadh 5km of Fleadh Bunting The streets of Ennis pulsed with Irish rhythm and revelry as age-old traditions were celebrated by new generations and the vibrancy of the Fleadh emanated throughout the town.
The All-Ireland Fleadh was held in Ennis on two previous occasions, in 1956 and 1977, and both were landmark events in the history of Irish traditional music. Every year, the Fleadh provides a cultural meeting place for those who carry the great traditions of Irish music, song and dance in their hearts.
Micheál O Riabhaigh, Chairman of the Fleadh Executive Committee said: “It has been a great privilege and an even greater responsibility to host this incredible event. We thank all the visitors to Ennis and sincerely hope the music and the craic was mighty and that everybody had a happy and a safe time in our town and county.”
At the core of the Fleadh are the competitions that see traditional musicians, dancers and singers of all ages and backgrounds competing at All Ireland level, following victories at regional competitions. This year almost 6,000 competitors played, sang or danced for All Ireland titles in 180 competitions.
The standards were high and the music more than lived up to the expectations of judges who had a very difficult job choosing winners for each category and competition. Scoil Éigse, the official summer school organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, ran throughout the week with Irish people and international students of all ages taking part in various music, singing, dancing and Irish language classes.
This year ‘The Green Fleadh’ made it easy to reduce and segregate waste, minimise water and energy use, reduce carbon emissions and source goods and materials sustainably. It helped the 400,000 visitors to Ennis take the necessary steps to protect and improve the environment.
The concept of ‘Sharing Clare’ was also promoted to ensure that the cultural and natural beauty of Clare was shared with visitors to Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2016.
Fleadh goers were invited to experience all that Clare has to offer and a programme of events and activities were undertaken in towns and villages throughout the county. Ennistymon, Tulla, Kilfenora, Feakle, Scariff, Cooraclare, Miltown Malbay and Quin were the towns and villages participating in the ‘Sharing Clare’ Programme.
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann will be return to Ennis next year between from 13 to 21 August.
• For all the results and further details on the Fleadh and competitions, visit www.fleadhcheoil.ie