Excitement is building in the county town as it prepares to welcome thousands of musicians and fans of Irish music and dance for Castlebar’s inaugural hosting of the Connacht Fleadh, which kicks off on June 30.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny officially launched the weeklong programme of events to mark the biggest provincial celebration of all things trad.
The streets are set to come alive with bodhrans, fiddles, and jigging and reeling with a packed seven-day programme including busking competitions, an outdoor ‘gig rig’, session trails throughout the town, on-street céilís, a street pageant, and intercultural celebrations.
Secretary of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Connacht, Helen Duggan from Knock, said the festival looks set to be “a fleadh to remember”.
The International Four Day Walking Festival and Heart of Castlebar street festival are coinciding with the fleadh, ensuring that all roads will lead to the county town for the first week in July with local hotels booked to capacity.
Ms Duggan said in excess of 1,000 competitors, their families, and supporters will take part in some 50 categories of the competition.
“Everyone, the local committee, the town council, the chamber and business community in Castlebar has really worked together over the past two years to make sure this will be a very successful fleadh, which is just great to see,” said Ms Duggan.
“There is a huge amount of events planned for the week and I’ve no doubt there will be many thousands of people in the town to enjoy it all.”
Máirtín G Ó Maicín, chairman of Coiste na Fleidhe, said it will be a huge boost to the town “bringing all that is best of the music, song, and dance of Connacht to the halls and streets of Castlebar. It will be a welcome boost to the economic, social, and cultural life of the town.”