Remember Free Derry Fleadh Cheoil?

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These photos from the Journal’s archive feature the Free Derry Fleadh Cheoil which took place in August 1969.

The music festival was organised behind the barricades of Free Derry after the Battle of the Bogside and attracted some of the biggest names in Irish folk music, including The Dubliners and Tommy Makem, as well as local performers.

It attracted thousands of Derry people onto the streets of the Bogside, and brought many visitors to the city.

It was designed to create a sense of normality in the area after the Battle of the Bogside and is believed to have been the first festival of its kind held in the North.

The original music festival was billed as a ‘liberation fleadh’ and a large banner reading ‘Derry Merry Derry Free’ was erected in the Bogside.

Those who attended the fleadh said Tommy Makem’s performance of ‘Four Green Fields’ - one of his signature songs - was particularly memorable.

The Dubliners performing in Westland Steet during the Free Derry Fleadh Cheoil. (2808MM01)

The Dubliners performing in Westland Steet during the Free Derry Fleadh Cheoil. (2808MM01)

Traditional musicians playing in the street during the Free Derry fleadh. (2808MM04)

Traditional musicians playing in the street during the Free Derry fleadh. (2808MM04)