Culdaff to host Donegal fleadh

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Culdaff is to be the venue for the Donegal fleadh for the first time in May, it’s been announced.

The Inishowen branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, Craobh Seamus Mac Giolla Bhride, is hosting the fleadh over the weekend of Friday May 11th to Sunday May 13th. The branch has hosted Donegal fleadhs in the past, but this is the first time the event is going to Culdaff.

Roisin McGrory, the well-known fiddler and traditional music teacher, who lives in Culdaff, said she’s delighted to see the fleadh coming to the area, although there will be a lot of organising and fund-raising involved.

“Hopefully we’ll see a lot of musicians, young and old, coming in over the weekend,” she said. “I expect a really good standard in the competitions, and we’ll be hoping to see some Inishowen players and singers qualifying to go forward to the Ulster.

“I think Culdaff will be an excellent place for the fleadh. There’s a tradition of music and singing there.”

The local comhaltas branch Craobh Seamus Mac Giolla Bhride was formed in the mid ‘80s by Teresa Mc Clure (nee Doherty) to honour Jimmy McBride, the great fiddle player who tragically died in a car accident when he was 22. A native of Greysteel in County Derry, Jimmy Mc Bride, like Teresa and many Inishowen traditional musicians, was a pupil of Dinny Mc Laughlin from Shandrum, Buncrana. Jimmy won the All-Ireland fleadh Cheoil in 1978, 1980 and the Oireachtas also in 1980. At the time of his death, he was regarded as one of the outstanding young musicians in the country.

The branch has enjoyed a lot of success over the years, with its young solo musicians and groups going forward to represent Donegal and Ulster at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. Solo musicians who have been successful at the All-Ireland include Paul, Damien and Roisin Harrigan, Ann and Edel Mc Laughlin, Paul McClure, Yasmin Lynch, Rosemary Lynch, Paula and Melanie Houton, Mairead and Siobhan O’Connor, and Eimear Mc Colgan - to name a few.

The fleadh in Culdaff will see many young musicians from throughout Donegal travel to the Inishowen Peninsula. Competitors who take first or second place at the fleadh will go forward to represent Donegal at the Ulster fleadh, which will be held this year in Dungiven.

The Fleadh committee have already received great support in the fundraising initiatives and are looking forward to a successful Fleadh in Inishowen. Alongside the competitions, there will be a ceilí, sessions, and a fun day of music song and dance in the village over the weekend. Futher details on these events will be announced later.