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The opening parade of the 2008 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Tullamore, County Offaly

The Fleadh Cheoil (Irish pronunciation: [fʲlʲaː çoːlʲ], meaning "Festival of music") is an Irish music competition run by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ).

There are various stages to the competition. In Ireland there are county and provincial competitions leading to the All-Ireland Fleadh. In Britain there are regional then national stages of qualification for the All-Ireland. North America has two regional qualifying Fleadh Cheoil. The Mid Atlantic Fleadh[1] covers the US eastern seaboard, eastern Canada and the Maritimes. The Midwest Fleadh[2] covers the rest of North America from Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta and Detroit to San Francisco.

Competitions are divided into the following age categories: under 12, 12–15, 15–18, and over 18 (senior).

History[edit]

The first national festival of Irish traditional music was held in Mullingar in 1951. At its inaugural meeting in September 1951, CCÉ came up with the title of Fleadh Cheoil, aiming to make this a great national festival of traditional music. The fleadh has been held in many different venues.

In the years that followed, the number of would-be competitors grew so large that qualifying stages had to be arranged at county and provincial level. Since then, Fleadh Nua (the new fleadh), Fleadh na Breataine (an All-Britain fleadh) and regional fleadhanna in Britain, and two major fleadhanna in the USA have also become annual CCÉ events.

From its beginning, the goal of the Fleadh Cheoil was to establish standards in Irish traditional music through competition. The Fleadh developed as a mainly competitive event, but it also included many concerts, céilíthe, parades, and sessions.

Today, nearly 50 years on, fleadhanna at each level provide a platform and a meeting place for the thousands of musicians (around 20,000 performers compete in fleadhanna each year), singers and dancers who carry on the tradition.

The 2008 festival was held in Tullamore, County Offaly and attracted an estimated crowd of 250,000 people making it Ireland's largest festival, music or otherwise.[3] The Fleadh is scheduled to go to Sligo in 2014.

The largest Fleadh to date was 2013 when the Fleadh was held in Derry, the event attracted 430,000 people. [4]

Competition categories[edit]

According to CCÉ's official rules for 2005:

Solo competitions shall be held for the following instruments: fiddle; two-row accordion; concert flute; whistle; piano accordion; concertina; uilleann pipes; harp; mouth organ; banjo; mandolin – excluding banjo-mandolin; piano; old-style melodeon; bodhrán; war pipes; miscellaneous such as three and five row button accordion, piccolo, [chromatic] harmonica and other stringed instruments; céilí band drums; accompaniment – confined to piano, harp, guitar and bouzouki-type instruments; solo traditional singing in Irish and English; whistling; lilting; newly composed ballads and amhráin nua-cheaptha (newly composed songs in Irish).
Solo competitions for slow airs shall be held in all age groups for the following instruments: (a) fiddle; (b) concert flute; (c) whistle; (d) uilleann pipes; and (e) harp (as of 2010).

There are also competitions for the following ensembles: duet, trio, ceilí band, instrumental group (grupaí cheoil), accordion band, pipe band, and miscellaneous ensemble.

The full rule set, which may change from year to year, is available from CCÉ web site[5] in the Press Room section. Comhaltas has a constitution or "Bunreacht"[6] in the Irish language.

Application[edit]

Towns and cities wishing to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann must submit several applications to Ardchomhairle an Chomaltais – the highest committee within CCÉ. Certain members of the Ardchomhairle then inspect the applicant towns and the locations that have been proposed as competition venues, before coming to a final decision several weeks after the preceding fleadh, usually in September. Once a town has been chosen to host the Fleadh, it undertakes to host the festival for two consecutive years. However, Comhaltas has the right to deny any the successful town the Fleadh for the second year if poor venues, organisational problems, etc. are demonstrated on the town's first year of hosting. On 10 September 2011, the 2012 All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil was awarded to Cavan, County Cavan, for the third year in succession. The other towns who applied for the 2012 festival were Ennis, County Clare; and Sligo, County Sligo. The Fleadh was held in Derry in 2013, the first time that it will be held in Northern Ireland, the primary reason for holding the Fleadh in Derry was due to that city being awarded the UK City of Culture for 2013. In 2014, it has been confirmed that the Fleadh Cheoil will be held in County Sligo and not returning to Derry for at least another year.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CCE Mid Atlantic Fleadh". Sites.google.com. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  2. ^ midwestfleadh.com
  3. ^ Tullamore's Fleadh-trick Offaly Express, 27 August 2008
  4. ^ ""Derry Fleadh 'biggest ever' say organisers"". BBC. |
  5. ^ "comhaltas.com". comhaltas.com. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Comhaltas: Comhaltas Constitution (Bunreacht)". Comhaltas.ie. 2 May 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleadh_Cheoil — Please support Wikipedia.
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29 news items

 
Belfast Telegraph
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:16:05 -0700

Of course, the City of Culture title went some way towards reversing years of amnesia about what it has to offer, especially the images of thousands of people packing out its streets for the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. And there are plenty of self ...

Derry Journal

Derry Journal
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:18:45 -0700

CI Burrows said the police would approach the festival, which begins of Tuesday and runs until Saturday and is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the city in the same spirit as last years successful Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. “For Derry to ...

Derry Journal

Derry Journal
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:03:45 -0700

I say that as another initiative is forthcoming from the Loyalist Bands Forum, a group who I think contributed in a very mature and positive way to the success of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and the events of last year in the city. I am tremendously ...

Castlebar.News (press release)

Castlebar.News (press release)
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:07:30 -0700

This year's Heart of Castlebar Festival (July 4th - 6th) coincides with Fleadh Cheoil Chonnacht 2014, as well as the International 4-Day Walks, ensuring the county town is the only place to be for an action-packed July weekend! You can expect lots of ...

Londonderry Today

Londonderry Today
Sun, 13 Apr 2014 00:07:30 -0700

“The Fleadh Cheoil provided some of the special moments: the Police Service of Northern Ireland pipe band being applauded when it entered Guildhall Square and the Apprentice Boys opening up their hall as a venue while several flute bands attended a ...

Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 21:00:47 -0700

We had over 430,000 people travelling to the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, it was the biggest ever. The organisers outreached to loyalist flute bands in the north west area and four agreed. I was absolutely behind that project. They were told that it ...

Londonderry Today

Londonderry Today
Thu, 03 Apr 2014 05:45:00 -0700

Development and Arts Manager at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Odhrán Mullan said: 'We are proud to bring a world-class selection of performers from across the Celtic nations for the festival, on a par with the high quality of music that we brought for Fleadh ...
 
U.TV
Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:15:00 -0700

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann alone attracted more than 400,000 in one week as crowds flocked to the song, music and dance extravaganza. It was a event of firsts - it was the first time it was held in Northern Ireland and it was opened by President Michael ...
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