Fleadh Cheoil (festival of music) is an Irish music festival run by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ), a non-profit organisation.
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.
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.
It is held in different locations throughout Ireland each year. The largest fleadh to date was 2018 in Drogheda, an event which attracted 500,000 people. See attached YouTube link.
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. The Fleadh came to Sligo in 2014 and 2015.
The 2016 festival was held in Ennis, County Clare and attracted an estimated crowd of 400,000 people over the nine days from 14 to 22 August.
Sadly, Mullingar will lose out on a second year of hosting Fleadh due to the pandemic. Fleadh Cheoil 2021 will be replaced by a virtual event titled ‘FleadhFest’.
FleadhFest will provide each province, county and Comhaltas branch worldwide with the opportunity of presenting performances and archive footage online. The format will be a two-hour pre-recorded event that will be broadcast on social media.
For more visit www.facebook.com/fleadhcheoil.ie