Indian dancing, W.B. Yeats rap poetry, rousing traditional Irish music and an impassioned speech from the President of Ireland were just some of the highlights from Sunday’s Opening Ceremony for the 64th Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Sligo City Centre.
The All-Ireland Fleadh is the largest single festival of Irish music and can reach attendances of 400,000 over the course of eight eventful days.
A colourful pageant, organised by local community groups began Sunday’s festivities with a parade through the streets of Sligo before voluntteers delivered an engaging performance on the main Gig Rig entitled ‘Under Bare Benbulben’. The pageant imagined a meeting between two of Sligo’s best known historical figures – St Colmcille and W.B. Yeats.
Afterwards,the official opening was performed by President Michael D.Higgins who, during an impassioned speech, praised the work of the Fleadh organisers and volunteers for hosting this prestigious event for the second consecutive year. He described it as “the most inclusive celebration of Irishness and the biggest traditional Irish music festival on the planet.”
The Fleadh Cheoil runs until Sunday, August 14th.
IT Sligo will become the central hub for the final three days (Friday 14th to Sunday 16th) when the All-Ireland Fleadh Competitions take place. 14 of the 25 competition venues will be located on the Institute’s campus.
The Knocknarea arena at IT Sligo is hosting several of the Fleadh’s flagship events this week including:Transatlantic Connections – The James Morrison Story on Thursday 13th at 8pm, and the All-Ireland Céilí Bands Competition on Sunday 16th at 7pm.
To see the full programme of events, visit official Fleadh Cheoil website.
Some of Sligo’s Fleadh Cheoil pageant volunteers who took part in Sunday’s Opening Ceremony.