The world’s largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance has returned for the first time in three years due to the pandemic.
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is running this week and until August 7, this after its July 31 kickoff in Mullingar, County Westmeath.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, welcomed the return of the Fleadh.
“I welcome the return of the All-Ireland Fleadh after two years absence from our cultural calendar. This is a hugely important cultural event for our nation, but it is also a great boost for local tourism, and would not be possible without the many volunteers and supporters in Comhaltas and the wider host community,” she said.
“I am pleased to see the re-emergence at regional and community level of such a wealth of talent after a long and challenging period of caution and restraint. We can look forward to attending the events and social gatherings that have defined the annual Fleadh for many of us over the years. I send my thanks and best wishes to those who make this wonderful yearly event such a success.
“I wish to specifically acknowledge this year the commitment and substantial support of Westmeath County Council and the Westmeath County Board of Comhaltas, who in conjunction with its seven branches in Mullingar, Ballynacargy, Castletown-Geoghegan, Rathconrath, Moate, and Castlepollard brought forward the bid to bring the Fleadh to the founding town of Comhaltas. Their efforts and dedication have paid off, and I hope that they will be rewarded by public support and attendance across the Fleadh programme.”
Speaking at the opening of the fleadh, President Michael D Higgins said: “On behalf of myself and my wife, Sabina, I am delighted, and it is a great privilege to be here again as we launch the All-Ireland Fleadh 2022.”
He added: “Having had to hold virtual events for the past two years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, we appreciate all the more putting the great experiences of our Irishness without borders that the Fleadh represents I lár an aoniagh.
“The arts and culture sector has been impacted so severely as a result of the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
500,000 are expected to attend this year’s Fleadh which has been named "The Homecoming."