The committee involved in organising the Ulster Fleadh in Dungiven is gearing up for an expected 20-30,000 people to hit the streets for the July week-long event.
The traditional music and cultural festival takes place between 17th and 24th July and has never been held in the town before.
After hosting two successful Derry Fleadhanna in 2007 and 2008, the local Fleadh committee was excited about the prospect of hosting the provincial Fleadh in the year of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann’s 60th anniversary.
Large numbers from across Ulster and traditional music lovers from across Ireland are expected to visit Dungiven.
George Murphy from the Fleadh committee, believes the “massive event” will benefit the community in several ways.
“It is a massive undertaking,” he said, ahead of a committee meeting last night.
“This will be the biggest event ever in Dungiven and the Limavady Borough Council area. I can’t think of anything else that has generated 20-30,000 people in a week.”
Mr. Murphy said the Fleadh will give an economic lift to the area at a time when it is badly needed through the provision of accommodation and people dining out. He said it is also great for tourism.
“You also find a lot of people coming back from abroad for the Fleadh. It gives them an excuse to come home, people from England, Scotland, America. People think it is just a festival, but it is more than that,” he said.
“Yes we have the song, the music and poetry and everything to do with the arts, and it is also something of a spectacle for people to enjoy with the bands and floats. But, with the high quality of competitors it is also time to take stock. That means it is more than just a festival. We will have the creme de la creme here competing in the local schools. It’s a great unifier in that way.”
Throughout the Ulster Fleadh festivities, people can expect plenty of Irish traditional music, singing and dancing, but, in keeping with any cultural event, there will be something for everyone. Plans are already being discussed to make this event one not to be missed, with a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities being considered.
Both St. Canice Primary School and St. Patrick’s College will be a focal point for much of the activity, hosting the all important Ulster Fleadh competitions, which will involve 1,500 competitors – the cream of Irish traditional musicians, singers and dancers in the nine counties of Ulster.
To follow the progress of the Fleadh committee or to find out how to get involved, check out the website: www.ulsterfleadh2011.com.