Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley will officially launch Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the largest Irish Traditional Music Festival in the world, in Ennis tomorrow, Sunday August 6 at 2.30pm in the Abbey Street Car Park in Ennis town centre.
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is delighted that the man who revolutionised Irish dance, and who previously took to the stage at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis in 1977 as a competitor, will now return to the Clare county town 40 years later to declare the Fleadh open to a new generation of competitors.
For many, the Fleadh is the culmination of months of hard work and practice as they compete against fellow musicians, singers and dancers to achieve the recognition of being an All-Ireland champion. For others it is a unique and welcoming festival of the best of traditional arts that offers a wide range of activities to be enjoyed by all.
Shannon Airport has come on board once again as the main sponsor for the Fleadh. Thousands of visitors from all parts of the world can expect a great welcome as they make their way through Shannon Airport en route to Ennis.
For Rose Hynes, Chairman, Shannon Group the sponsorship of the Fleadh is about more than just financial support.
“For those of us who grew up in County Clare, looking out on the Atlantic swell and skies that carry our music and song to the four corners of the globe, hosting the Fleadh here in County Clare is very much a case of ‘bringing it all back home’. We have much to be proud of in Clare; our landscape, our sport, our people and especially our traditional music, song and dance. It distinguishes us as much as anything else. It’s in the DNA of the county; it’s classless, ageless, boundless. Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is our most anticipated event this summer,” she said.
The All-Ireland Fleadh has been held in Ennis on three previous occasions, last year – 2016, in 1956 and 1977, and all three were landmark events in the history of Irish traditional music.
Frank Whelan, Cathaoirleach, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann INIS 2017 is preparing to add to that history with an even greater Fleadh in 2017.
“With Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann INIS 2016 a resounding success, we are building on this to deliver another great Fleadh in 2017. With the support of our sponsors and the co-operation of Comhaltas, the Management and Staff of Clare County Council, local businesses, Clare Volunteer Centre, An Garda Síochána and the Health and Emergency Services Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2017 will leave a lasting legacy in County Clare to be celebrated and enjoyed for many years to come,” he said.
Up to 3,000 competitors will play, sing or dance for All Ireland glory in 180 competitions. They come from all over Ireland and abroad with a significant contingent from the United States.
Fleadh TV will broadcast live from the centre of Ennis from 8.30pm to 11.30pm over three nights from Friday August 18 to Sunday August 20 on TG4 as well as live on tg4.tv and on the Fleadh website fleadhcheoil.ie.