Thousands of people gathered in Guildhall Square today for the spectacular launch of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Crowds, the like of which the city has never seen before attended the opening ceremony which was attended by thousands of Fleadh visitors. The city plays host to the first Fleadh ever to be held in the North of Ireland until 18th August.
Invited guests including Uachtarán na hÉireann Micheál Ó hUiginn, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, Comhaltas President Vince Jordan and Director General Labhras O Murchu were in Derry to witness the historic opening ceremony featuring musicians from the four corners of Ireland and the Iron Age Loch na Séad trumpet.
Fleadh Chairperson Eibhlín Ní Dhochartaigh said she realises Derry has a lot of expectation on its shoulders. “We realise that this year’s Fleadh Cheoil is very special. It is a key element in the 2013 City of Culture programme as well as the Gathering and we are proud to roll out an intensive eight day festival that reflects the true music and culture of Ireland through a wide and varied events programme.
“A core theme to this year’s fleadh is a Gathering of Traditions. 2013 is the year of the Gathering, and with this in mind we have programmed a series of concerts that draw links between nations with significant cultural connections to Ireland, as well as honouring some of the stylistic nuances in Irish traditional music across the country.
“It is important not to forget about the historic value of Fleadh Cheoil crossing the border for the first time. We are delighted to celebrate the occasion with performances by individuals synonymous with Irish culture in Derry. Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney and master uileann piper Liam O’Flynn. Champion of traditional singing Cara Dillon will feature in rare and exclusive performances for the first All-Ireland fleadh in the city.
“There has been a great emphasis on Fleadh Cheoil ‘13 reflecting the digital age, and thus we are delighted to present the groundbreaking FleadhLive, an online music show that will broadcast across the world in real-time.
“I would like to thank the inspiring and dedicated team of people who have been working on the fleadh over the past eighteen months, and our generous funders, partners and sponsors who have enabled us to put together a top quality programme of an international standard. Finally, I encourage everyone to make as much time as possible in your diaries to come and visit us this August.”
This year’s event will also feature Fleadh Live, a truly landmark event that will leave a lasting impression on the huge influx of visitors to Derry, as well as the many thousands of people who will watch the show live online at www.fleadhcheoil.ie and later on-demand across the world.
For more information on Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann visit www.fleadhcheoil.ie or call the Fleadh office on 028 71373573