Hundreds of Clare businesses will be tuning up to a €30 million windfall next year after Ennis won the right to host the 2016 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Securing the largest traditional music festival in the world for the first time since 1977 will attract an estimated 300,000 visitors to Ennis and neighbouring towns in August 2016, which will in turn provide a multi-million Euro boost in the coffers of local traders.
Sligo are hosting the All-Ireland showpiece again in 2015 for a second successive year and local promoters were keen to stage it in 2016.
However, after narrowly missing out on winning the right to host the prestigious annual event over the past four years, Ennis was named ahead of Sligo and Drogheda as the host venue for the event at a ceremony in Dublin on Saturday.
Clare County Council has welcomed the announcement by the Ardchomhairle of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann to name Ennis as the host venue from August 15 to 21, 2016 after years of disappointment.
“The Working Group established to bring the event to Clare has been working tirelessly over the past number of years and put together a very strong argument as to why Ennis, arguably one of the best known traditional Irish music centres in the world, would be a worthy host location. Everybody concerned is thrilled by this decision,” commented Councillor John Crowe, chairman of Clare County Council.
The chairman said potential economic spin-offs for Ennis and County Clare as a result of hosting the event are “considerable, hence the substantial time and effort that has been invested by many organisations and individuals across Clare to bring the event to the county”.
“I feel this decision is a tribute to the unrivalled contribution of traditional Irish music artists and groups throughout Clare over the years to preserving and promoting a unique part of Irish culture and heritage,” added the chairman.
“Ennis has not hosted the event since 1977 and I firmly believe that the awarding of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to the town is thoroughly deserved, especially considering the fact that the town has and continues to host a range of culture and arts festivals that are of national and international renown, including the Fleadh Nua and the annual Ennis Trad Festival,” stated Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Johnny Flynn.
Clare County Council Chief Executive, Tom Coughlan said the Council, which was centrally involved in the submission process, “shared the delight felt by all members of the working group and Clare people”.
“I want to acknowledge the members of the working group for their efforts and commitment to securing this event for Ennis. Clare is the home of Traditional Irish Music and Ennis is a thoroughly deserving host location for an event of this scale and prestige.
“Clare Local Authorities looks forward to working with all local interests and agencies to deliver a successful and memorable Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 2016,” he said.
“I believe the hosting of this event is of major significance and will further enhance the future economic, tourism and cultural development and international profile of the town and county,” he added.