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At the official opening of the All Ireland Fleadh 2017 in Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.

Michael Flatley Opens Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann


The crowds came out in force again this year as Michael Flatley opened Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis for 2017.

Ahead of playing a tune on flute, accompanied by his friend Ger Fahy, Michael Flatley told of his love for music and dance and commended the organisers for putting on another wonderful festival this year.

He paid tribute to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for all the work they do and for bringing music into his life.

“Labhras Ó Murchú who was dear friends with my father, God rest his soul, brought music to Chicago when I was a young man and I can never say thank you enough. Thank you to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann because they brought that little ray of sunshine into our lives, they are the ones who got me started playing music. I’m sure most of you here would have benefitted in some way from that wonderful organisation,” he said. 

Reflecting on his family, who encouraged him on this musical path, Michael Flatley said, “Music is such a wonderful thing. Irish music is so close to my heart.

My father was a Sligo man and my mother was from Carlow, and sadly my parents passed away last year but they have given me everything. Without my Mum and Dad I would have nothing and I would be nothing, and for the young people here today, listen to your parents they’ll never steer you wrong they always have the best of intentions and even sometimes when you might disagree wholeheartedly listen to them, because when I started out I didn’t want to play music and now I’m so honoured and delighted that I do”.

He told young musicians, dancers and singers that their dreams are all possible if they do the work.

“It is festivals like this that bring joy into our lives and into our hearts and it means so much to so many people. If you are young and you are thinking about a career in music if you are willing to work hard you can have anything in the world that you want anything at all. If you believe in yourself and follow your dream nothing is impossible. Nothing. It is my honour to declare this Fleadh officially open,” he concluded before playing a tune.

Michael Flatley took to the stage one more time during the opening as he played a tune with the Tulla Céilí Band.

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann runs in Ennis from Sunday August 13 to August 21, 2017.


About Carol Byrne

Carol Byrne is a reporter at The Clare Champion newspaper reporting on news in the East Clare area and the arts. She also covers the courts in County Clare and has received seven national awards for this coverage from the Law Society of Ireland and a National Lottery Local Ireland national media award for Best Community Story 2019. A Masters in Journalism graduate of NUI Galway, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Limerick in Music and Media Studies, and a Higher Diploma in Irish Legal Studies. She began her career interning at The Limerick Leader and Clare FM, before taking up a full time post at The Clare Champion in 2006.

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