Noted as “a success beyond all our expectations”, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke, Cathaoirleach, Westmeath County Council, enthused this week, as he reflected upon Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2022.
The ‘Homecoming’ Fleadh invigorated as traditional Irish music and dance was embraced by the vast swell of national and international visitors who visited Mullingar during the prestigious occasion.
“The ‘Homecoming’ Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann was undoubtedly a success beyond all our expectations. The colour, the entertainment, the weather, the fun and the huge crowds all contributed to this being the best Fleadh ever.
“The pedestrianised streets were thronged with people daily, locals, domestic visitors and international guests all mingling and taking in the fantastic atmosphere that was evident right throughout the entire week in Mullingar.
“The festival week witnessed half a million people make their way to Mullingar. Just to consider these huge numbers of people for a moment gives you some idea of the scale of this event and the work that goes in to making it a success. There are huge logistical considerations from car parking to toilet facilities and from security to catering - everything had to be meticulously organised and then executed. So, from the organisational and management side I would like to congratulate Fleadh chairperson, Joe Conniare and his committee for the fantastic work they have done to secure the festival and then plan it to perfection.
“Westmeath County Council’s Fleadh co-ordinator Anne-Marie Corroon, deserves great credit for her sterling work in ensuring all went according to plan from the council’s perspective. I also want to thank and congratulate the numerous volunteers without whom the Fleadh would not have been the amazing success it was. For me, the volunteers were by far the stand-out aspect of this Fleadh. Each volunteer had a job to do, but apart from the actual work conducted by each and every one of them, it was the welcome and friendship shown to all the visitors and attendees where ever they came from, that made a big impression on everyone. One couple from Canada with whom I was talking to said ‘we love it here, everyone is so friendly and welcoming, we want to stay. If it’s here again next year, we’ll be back’.
Hospitality Boost to Westmeath
“I spoke to visitors from Canada, the UK, Americans and people from the four corners of Ireland and each of them mentioned the friendliness of the people and those involved in the Fleadh. This has been a great week for Westmeath, with many visitors to the Fleadh staying in other parts of the county. The Fleadh is a huge financial undertaking for Westmeath County Council but the economic and financial return to the local economy is multiples of the investment made.
“We now must turn our minds to ensuring the Fleadh returns to Westmeath again next year. The decision will be made in early September by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. As Cathaoirleach, and I’m sure I speak for all the members of Westmeath County Council when I say, we are totally committed to the Fleadh 2023 and we will back it again next year, as we did this year. We have made Comhaltas aware of our strong desire to host the 2023 Fleadh here in Westmeath, and I am hopeful of a positive outcome,” Cllr O’Rourke asserted.