ORGANISERS of this year’s Fleadh Nua say they are “making up for lost time” with a packed schedule of events planned for when the festival returns to Ennis this weekend.
After a two-year break Fleadh Nua will be back on the streets of the county capital for a week of traditional music, song, and dance culminating in three headline concerts at glór over the June Bank holiday weekend.
An annual event in Ennis for more than four decades, the Fleadh went online for the last two years due to Covid-19 to ensure the continuity of the event.
Now, however, with all restrictions lifted, the ‘Fleadh down in Ennis’ is back, bigger and better than ever, as chairman of the organising committee Frank Whelan explains.
“With this year’s Fleadh Nua, we’re making up for lost time, so we have a packed programme of events with everything from concerts, céilithe, singing and storytelling to sessions, film, CD launches and workshops in music, song, dance and the Irish language, along with a guided walking tour, café and pub events and the ever popular Foinn Seisiún music sessions.”
Fleadh Nua kicks off with a tribute to three legends of traditional music Paddy O’Brien, Seamus Connolly and Charlie Lennon when a re-mastered version of their iconic EP ‘The Banks of the Shannon’ will be launched at Cois na hAbhna on Saturday, May 28 by Ardstiúrthóir, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Dr Labhrás Ó Murchú.
Commenting on the return of the Fleadh, he highlighted the important role our music and song plays in everday life, “Irish culture is about people; our way of life; our values; aspirations and talents. It is a living monument to all those who have promoted and enhanced our cultural heritage down through the years, that there are more people playing our native music to-day than at any time in Irish history.
“After two difficult and uncertain years, the Fleadh Nua is back, stronger than ever. There is a saying ‘Nuair a thosnaíonn an ceol bíonn na rinceoirí réidh’… The dancers are ready when the music starts! Ar aghaidh linn le chéile!”
The dancers will certainly be ready in Cois na hAbhna from Thursday, June 2 until Monday, June 6 when the much missed Fleadh Nua céilithe make a welcome return featuring The Tulla, The Five Counties, Slíabh Aughty, Dal gCais and Four Courts Céilí Bands.
Highlights of the week also include ‘Dúchas is Dóchas’ a celebration of the rich heritage of traditional song in Co Clare presented by Diarmuid de Faoite and featuring local artists, at Cois na hAbhna on Monday, May 30 and The Clare Youth Trad Orchestra in Concert at Glor on Friday, June 3.
The following evening, Saturday, June 4 sees the great Kilfenora Céilí Band make a welcome return to the same venue while glór also hosts the internationally renowned ‘Cherish The Ladies’ on Sunday, June 4. Fleadh Nua starts on Saturday, May 28 and runs through to Monday, June 6. For further details see fleadhnua.com.