Preparations are well underway in Ballinalee, Co. Longford for one of the County’s biggest annual traditional music events. The Fleadh is hosted by the Longford Comhaltas Branch and will take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 11th, 12th and 13th.
With over 250 entries in this year’s Fleadh, an array of musical talent, dancers and singers from across the county are set to take to the stage across the weekend in what is expected to be a great weekend’s entertainment.
Among the many instruments on show will be the tin whistle, flute, fiddle, accordion, banjo, mandolin, concertina, piano, drums, bodhrán as well as the very finest in traditional singing and dancing.
The Fleadh Cheoil will kick off with Set Dancing and Rince Foirne competitions for all ages in the Thomas Ashe Hall, Ballinalee at 8pm on Friday night before the the Official Fleadh Opening and Session in Rawle’s bar in Ballinalee at 9.30pm.
Longford is experiencing a resurgence of interest in traditional music at present, with nine winners at last year’s All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Cavan. “Irish music is incredibly popular at the minute,” Secretary of Longford Comhaltas, Patricia Masterson told the Leader.
“The numbers of people taking up traditional music is increasing all the time. I suppose it’s being promoted better and the great success we had at All-Ireland level last year has also generated a bit of excitement.”
This next generation of Longford musicians will be given a chance to show off their instrumental and vocal talents with over 50 under-10s expected to take part in a competition in Thomas Ashe Hall, Ballinalee at 1pm on Saturday.
A Céilí will be held in the Longford Arms Hotel on Saturday night from 9-12pm with the well known local Glenside Céilí Band. A session will also be held in Farrell’s in Ballinalee at 9.30pm.
All competitions in Traditional Music, Singing and Comhra Gaeilge for all other age groups will be held in Scoil Samhann, Ballinalee at 2pm. A Céilí will be held in the Longford Arms Hotel from 3- 6pm with the well known Deenagh Céilí Band.
A number of artists will continue the festivities at the ever-popular Gig-Rig, opposite the Stag’s Head in Ballinalee from 5-8pm.
The finale on Sunday night will be a session in The Stag’s Head, Ballinalee at 9.30pm.
The Longford Fleadh Cheoil promises to be a fun family event with entertainment for every member of the family.