Ulster Fleadh is hailed a success

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The small, hardworking committee responsible for the “beautiful buzz” in Dungiven last week for Fleadh Uladh 2011 has been congratulated on the success of the event, which locals say attracted up to 20,000 people.

The jam-packed Fleadh, showcasing the very best Irish music, song and dance has to offer from thousands of talented musicians, delighted those who attended the busy calendar of events over the week, July 17-24th. Among the highlights, along with all of the usual activities associated with the Ulster Fleadh (seisiúns, competitions, ceilis, etc.), was a special concert - Songs of the People - in St. Canice’s Hall last Thursday.

Paying a visit to the North Derry town was Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, who toured Dungiven and the various events in the sunshine on Saturday. Accompanying the minister was East Derry Sinn Fein MLA, Cathal O’hOisin.

“The minister stayed quite some time in Dungiven and she was totally impressed with what she saw and, of course, this bodes well for next year and, hopefully, for the third year in conjunction with the All Ireland Fleadh possibly coming to Derry,” he said.

“The Fleadh was absolutely brilliant and went off without a hitch and everyone enjoyed themselves and the sun shone on the Fleadh.” .

Limavady mayor and Sinn Fein councillor, Sean McGlinchey, paid tribute to the Fleadh committee for their immense efforts.

“Not one thing went wrong and everyone had a great time. The weather was great and the town looked great. Limavady Borough Council did a great job providing facilities and flowers. Anything that was asked of them they did. It was a great event for the people of Dungiven and the everyone who visited.”

Fleadh committee member, Dungiven musician Maranna McCloskey, said it was definitely a week to remember.

“From my persepective the Songs of the People concert was a sell-out and a marvellous success. People were saying it was one they would remember for a long time. I was very busy with the competitions and I must say the standard was fierce, absolutely incredible. There was a beautiful buzz around the schools with everyone outside rehearsing on the lawns and a gorgeous atmosphere on Sunday during the glorious weather. There was an open air ceilidh and people were on their feet dancing The Waves of Tory. The town never looked better and the musicians all said it was a welcoming town and a great place to play music. We are all very relieved that the Fleadh passed safely and successfully and it’s left a very positive impression of Dungiven with people.”

The Fleadh committee are keen to express their sincere appreciation to all of the support they have received to finance and manage the music festival. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Limavady Borough Council and Comhaltas are Fleadh Uladh’s principle funders, with Purvis Precast Stone and St. Canice’s G.A.C. sharing the title as main sponsors.

“In particular, the local businesses have donated very generously, and the committee would also like to thank in particular those who are not direct beneficiarie,” said chairman Jeremy Granleese. “There have been so many efforts to make this year’s Fleadh something special.”

See photos on page 12.