Excitement building as Fleadh gets ready for its Presidential opening

Up and coming group Goitse will be playing at this year's Fleadh. (0608MM10)
Up and coming group Goitse will be playing at this year's Fleadh. (0608MM10)

With less than a week to go until the launch of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, excitement is building across the city.

Organisers are busy making the final arrangements ahead of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city for the largest celebrations of Irish traditional music anywhere in the world.

Tickets for a number of the headline events, including Seamus Heaney’s ‘Poet and the Piper,’ and Cara Dillon’s performance with the Orchestra of Ireland, have already sold out.

As well as high profile concerts, the Fleadh will also play host to performances from top-flight musicians at venues throughout the city.

Performances will take place at open air stages at Victoria Market, the Gasyard, Ebrington Square, the Craft Village and City of Derry Golf Club.

Indoor performances and competitions will take place all over the city, with venues ranging from the North West Regional College to St Columb’s Cathedral.

The Fleadh will be opened on Sunday by President Michael D. Higgins, at a ceremony in Guildhall Square at 5pm.

The opening ceremony will take place after a procession of traditional boats on the Foyle, including the Colum Cille - the world’s biggest curragh. There will also be an outdoor pageant just before the opening ceremony.

This year’s Fleadh will also host a series of events to recognise the role various areas and regions have played in the shaping of traditional music. The Gathering of Traditions series of converts will be held throughout the city and each will look at a different aspect of traditional music. The series will get underway on Tuesday August 13 with ‘Song of the Emigrant’ hosted by Lynette Fay in the Glassworks, Great James’ Street. It will focus on songs of emigration and will feature Coleraine singer and banjo player Damien O’Kane, Belfast-born Barry Kerry, and Dungiven singer Mary Dillon.

The series will continue with ‘Highlands and Islands’ which feature the talents of Scottish singing legends, The Campbells, and a unique performance by sean nós dancer, John Sikorski.

On Thursday ‘Across the Atlantic’ will include North American acts including Tim Eriksen and Liz Carrol will explore the impact of Irish music in north America. Other events in the series will explore the music of Derry, Fermanagh, Inishowen, and Clare.