President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins will officially open Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann on Sunday evening.
Labelled as the most important event in the traditional music calendar, the Fleadh is set to draw 400,000 visitors over the next nine days. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann are honoured that Higgins will preside over the launch of this year’s festival.
The All-Ireland Fleadh has been held in Ennis on two previous occasions, in 1956 and 1977, and both were landmark events in the history of Irish traditional music. Now Ennis is hosting Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann once again and the Fleadh Executive Committee is tasked with organisational responsibility in conjunction with Clare County Council, Gardaí, Statutory Bodies, Consultants, Business and Local Communities.
Up to 6,000 competitors will play, sing or dance for All Ireland in 180 competitions. They come from all over Ireland and abroad with a significant contingent from the United States. Teaching and handing on the tradition is central to the Comhaltas mission.
All competitions and competitors have their own following of family, friends, supporters and enthusiasts but there is no doubt that on Sunday 21st August, all roads lead to the big Dome for a fantastic night of ceol and competition.
The opening pageant Seachtar Fear, Seacht Lá at Clare GAA grounds in Cusack Park follows the Official Opening of the Fleadh by Uachtarán na hÉireann.
Seven Men – Seven Days is a pageant based on a script written in 1966 by the celebrated Irish writer Bryan MacMahon for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Rising. A series of lectures on history, music and culture takes place throughout the week while the Irish language is central to a host of special events from Monday 15th – Sunday 22nd.