Derry’s Fleadh Bus is currently on a 1,200 mile road trip through Scotland and England promoting the fleadh, which will be held in the city in August.
The bus, which is decked out with the colours and logos of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, has been travelling around major festivals and sporting events across Ireland and Britain since last summer with volunteers handing out promotional material and encouraging people to come to Derry.
Over the last week it has embarked on its most ambitious journey to date, covering 1,200 miles across Britain. The bus and its passengers left Derry last week and since then have passed through Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, London, Coventry and yesterday it stopped at Liverpool. It is expected to travel to Manchester this morning.
The bus also visited the All England Fleadh which was held in Twickenham last weekend in a bid to encourage the thousands of traditional musicians and fans attending the event to come to Derry for the Fleadh between August 11-18.
Dee McCafferty, driver of the Fleadh bus, said the reaction from people in the various cities has been very positive.
“The people have been great and they are very eager to find out all about the Fleadh,” he said. “We arrived in Glasgow last week and met with the Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, before going on a tour of the city. We then moved on to Edinburgh the next day where we were very well received before moving into England and on to Newcastle.
“After that we went to the All England Fleadh in Twickenham and that was an amazing experience and we met thousands of people, many of whom have said they are coming to Derry. We then went into central London and Coventry where we did a live radio interview with Bob Brolly,” he said.
Mr McCafferty also said a number of people have raised concerns about the number of flights into Derry during the Fleadh. “So many people were telling us they had been looking into flying to Derry from Prestwick and Stansted and other airports and they thought there would be extra flights on the Thursday and the Monday around the final weekend of the Fleadh to accommodate all the extra visitors to the city.
“Perhaps it is something the airlines could consider to meet the extra demand that is quite obviously there ,” he said.