All trad music roads lead to Clare

trad music Fleadh Cheoil Clare

Back to Ennis for The Fleadh Cheoil

This August, trad musicians and fans will descend on Ennis for the biggest national festival celebrating Ireland’s musical culture. A total of 400,000 visitors are expected to come to the region, where organisers have put on a huge musical assemble of concerts as well as cultural and heritage trips.

The Fleadh Cheoil started in Mullingar in 1951, and since then every year the top trad musicians come from all over Ireland, the UK and America to battle it out to become All Ireland champion in their chosen field and are graded by age.

This year sees the Fleadh return to Ennis, and the Clare organisers are delighted for it to be the renewal for a double-festival in the town as it will be held there again in 2017.

As well as the musical championships there is a packed programme of events, which include 25 concerts from some of the biggest names in Irish entertainment.

trad music Fleadh Cheoil Clare
15/8/2015 Michael Tully, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

“There is something special about Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann coming back to Ennis,” said Padraic O’Reilly, Fleadh Concerts Manager. “This is where musicians want to be in August and I am so grateful to the dozens of performers who are travelling from here there and everywhere to be with us for the Fleadh. Without their wonderful cooperation it wouldn’t be possible to have this amazing line up and I believe we have something to suit every trad taste.”

A total of 17 concerts will be staged in Glór, the premier performance space in Ennis, a centre of excellence for audiences, artists, performers, and the community, and an integral resource for the traditional arts. It has a seating capacity for almost 500 people.

trad music Fleadh Cheoil Clare
Ennis Town

A special Dome will be constructed at Tim Smyth Park in the centre of Ennis which can seat 2,000 people, which will be the venue for five major events. Three events including the Meitheal Orchestra will be staged at Dánlann an Chláir.

The Dánlann performance venue is semi-circular in shape with an open plan stage area, providing tiered seating for almost 400 people. And with this being the year of the 1916 centenary celebrations, there is a historical theme blended through the musical performances, starting with opening event Seven Men – Seven Days.

The pageant is the first concert of the festival and is based on a script written in 1966 by the celebrated Irish writer Bryan McMahon for the 50th anniversary commemorations of the Rising. Against a backdrop of music, song, and verse from performers drawn from around the country, the seven signatories of the Proclamation tell their own story, recalling the struggle and achievements of those who challenged the might of the British Empire one hundred years ago. The event is free, although booking is required, and occurs on August 14 at Cusack Park from 6pm.

trad music Fleadh Cheoil Clare
Cherish the Ladies

But it is the closing concert that is most anticipated with Cherish the Ladies taking to the Shannon Aerodome, where the band, with over 31 years experience, will rock the stage with special guests.

The Grammy-nominated Irish-American super group will be joined by Don Stiffe, Noel Hill and Tony Linnane, Mary Bergin, Nollaig Casey, Liz and Yvonne Kane, Donnchadh Gough and Maura O’Connell. The band has played from everywhere from the White House to live on national American television, and formed in New York in 1985 to battle the maledominated Irish music scene there.

Under the leadership of the dynamic and irrepressible flute and whistle champion Joanie Madden, the ladies create an evening that includes a spectacular blend of instrumental talents, captivating vocals and stunning step dancing. Their continued success as one of the top Celtic groups in the world is due to the ensembles ability to take the best of Irish traditional music and dance and put it forth in an immensely entertaining package. Tickets for this spectacular finale cost €15 and it takes place on August 22 at 8pm.

trad music Fleadh Cheoil Clare

In keeping with the 1916 theme is concert A Terrible Beauty which will be staged at Glór to mark the Easter Rising, retold through music, song and words. Tracing the roots of the rising and the events of that fateful week the original show by Ray Conway, will draw on the music and song of the time along with eyewitness and newspaper accounts to recall perhaps the most defining event of 20th century Irish history.

The performance will feature renowned traditional singer Sean Ó Sé with musical direction by Denis Liddy and narration by broadcasters Ciana Campbell and Pat Costello. Also performing will be singers Tadhg Maher, and Edel Vaughan, Denis Liddy on fiddle, Elvie Miller on piano, Marian Curtin on flute, Francis Cunningham on concertina and Eimear Coughlan on harp. It will be held at Glor on August 18 at 8pm, and tickets cost €15.

trad music Fleadh Cheoil Clare
Martin Hayes

Veteran to the trad music scene Derek Warfield will be joined by the young Wolfe Tones on August 16 at the West County Hotel. After 40 years of practice of being one of the forefathers of keeping the Irish ballad tradition alive, he is now joined by a new generation of musicians who are bringing that musical tradition forward with a reverence for Ireland’s past and the energy and optimism of a new generation of Irish musicians.

Martin Hayes, who wowed audiences at the Royal Festival Hall in April at the Imagining Ireland concert, is part of a sold out line-up celebrating the music of East Clare alongside Dennis Cahill, the Tulla Ceili Band, Andrew and Mary MacNamara and other Guests

For full line up info please visit:


Sign in or create your account to join the discussion

Register now to keep up to date with all the latest:

  • Irish News
  • Sport
  • Community and Entertainment

Sign up to our Newsletter to be in with a chance to win a snazzy iPad and for all the latest...

  • Email updates
  • Regular features
  • Competitions and give aways