Colour, high-energy, and of course, music, abound at the Fleadh Cheoil

The largest traditional music festival in the country has been packing out Mullingar all week with tens of thousands more expected over the coming days, and if you haven’t ever been to a Fleadh Cheoil it might be worth heading down this weekend.

The gig rigs throughout the town showcase music from every quarter of the country – from local Comhaltas branches, to high-profile acts, star performers, and special guests.

The ‘world’s biggest session’ took place outside the Cathedral yesterday. It was a big crowd, many of whom will have attended Scoil Éigse, the traditional music school run in the week before the competitions take place at the Fleadh this weekend.

There are sessions in the pubs, on the streets, and in the tea rooms. RnG and RTE are on hand to catch some of the talent, like this lovely performance from father and son.

There was plenty of dancing too:

Events like the tutor’s concert and the céilí band competition are always hotly anticipated. .

But its always been the case that behind the high-profile events have been the trojan workers who kept the music alive. One of the key achievements of Comhaltas Ceolteoirí Éireann has been to pass on the music from generation to generation and to organise branches and classes throughout the country where local musicians teach the styles and tunes of the region – and also the seannós or traditional songs.

This short video shows how famed flute-player Peig Ryan (who was still teaching at 94!) was more than just a brilliant musician, she also helped to keep the music alive.

Its a week where friendships are forged and tunes learned and songs sung and a whole tribe of musicians and singers meet up with their own.



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