This weekend Foxford hosts one of the major cultural events in the county, Fleadh Cheoil Mhaigh Eo. This is the town’s second consecutive year hosting the county Fleadh and the fleadh will continue until Sunday, May 12.
Following the success of last year’s fleadh it was it was no surprise that the town was chosen to host the fleadh for a second year. The official launch of the fleadh was undertaken in April by Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary and Fine Gael Senator, Michelle Mulherin.
During the fleadh, competition goers will fill the venues located throughout the town in anticipation of qualifying for the provincial stages, and possibly to be in the running for a coveted All-Ireland title. Foxford itself is no stranger to silverware with the local Admiral Brown Comhaltas branch members featuring strongly in All-Ireland Fleadhs over the years.
Competitions take place this weekend between the secondary school and Foxford Sports and Leisure Centre. Daily admission to the Fleadh competitions is €5 for adults and €3 for non-competing children. The public is encouraged to attend the competitions which will run from 10am daily.
Individual competitions will run in the mornings while Grúpaí Cheoil and Céilí Band competitions will run from 4:30pm on Saturday and 3:30pm on Sunday. It is expected that the standard at these competitions will be very high as in previous years. Due to an increase in competition entries this year, the starting time for Sunday’s competitions has been brought forward to 10am to accommodate the larger numbers.
Alongside the regular fleadh competitions, the vision for this year’s county fleadh is for musicians and music lovers from all corners of Ireland to come to Foxford for a week ja- packed with music sessions all around the town. As was the case last year, a massive ‘high energy’ Session Trail will be hosted by all the pubs in the town over the weekend with fantastic musicians from around the country. There will be music night and day. While most of the sessions are planned for indoors over the weekend, it is hoped that the music will spill outside onto the streets, but this is entirely weather permitting. Again, people are encouraged to come out and enjoy the sessions and get involved in the music, song and dance.
Tonight, Friday May 10, the official opening of the fleadh will take place at a concert in the Secondary School at 8pm. This concert will also showcase a selection of Mayo’s best musicians and dancers with sessions continuing in pubs into the night afterwards.
At lunch time (12:30pm ) on Saturday, a Junior Session will take place in the beautiful surroundings of the iconic Foxford Woollen Mills. Mass will take place on Saturday evening May 11 at 7.30pm, which allows people the opportunity to hear members of the Mayo CCÉ All-Irish choir. The children of ‘Glór na Sí, under the musical direction of Tommy Doherty, will perform at Mass on Sunday morning at 11am.
The Fleadh Céilí will take place on Saturday night at 9.30pm in the Brown Memorial Hall. Music by the very popular Swallow’s Tail Céilí Band. Also, on Sunday, any fan of the great outdoors can take part in a walk, specially organised to celebrate Foxford hosting the fleadh, by the very active Foxford Ramblers walking group. ‘A Musical Ramble through Drummin Wood with a ‘Cupán Tae’ by the lake, will leave from Foxford Leisure Centre at 12.30pm.
So, whether you play music professionally, are learning an instrument, can throw a few steps or are even just happy to stroll around and listen, Foxford is offering a huge Céad Mile Fáilte to everyone to come and soak up the wonderful atmosphere at this year’s Mayo County Fleadh.
Full details on the fleadh can be found on the facebook page: Mayo Fleadh – Fleadh Cheoil MhaighEo.