Let us all enjoy all the fun of the Fleadh

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It is entirely fitting that the Fleadh Cheoil - the world’s largest celebration of Irish culture - is taking place in Derry this week.

The week-long programme of events, which will celebrate Irish music, song and dance, is expected to attract as many as 300,000 visitors to the city and add as much as £40 million to the local economy.

With around 20,000 musicians taking part in a variety of competitions and concerts, there really will be something for everyone to enjoy across the week.

It is a momentous week not only for the city of Derry, but for the entire North West and, indeed, for the island of Ireland.

Some of the biggest names in Irish traditional music will be in Derry for the annual All Ireland festival - a major coup for the City of Culture.

The All-Ireland Fleadh is a major cultural and social event on this island and the impact of such a high-calibre event on the local economy is very positive and much-needed.

Also, it will give Derry’s own traditional music scene a tremendous boost.

There can be little doubt that Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann will further enhance the mood of celebration that Derry is enjoying during its culture year.

President Michael D. Higgins, who officially launched the Fleadh at Guildhall Square on Sunday, hit the nail on the head when he said that, in recent years, Derry has transcended its troubled past by rebuilding, renewing and re-imagining itself.

He was so right when he said Derry has risen to the challenge of freeing itself from the burden of a divisive history and has done so by working to create a new and vibrant society.

We are, indeed, a vibrant city focused on creating a positive future for ourselves.