The organisers of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, which will be held in Derry in August, have opened a dedicated office in the city centre to co-ordinate the planning for the huge festival.
The office, in Great James’ Street (opposite Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin), will be a hub for planning and organising the Fleadh, the largest celebration of Irish traditional music in the world.
The new Fleadh office will also handle all queries about accommodation in the city. The festival is expected to attract more than 250,000 visitors with competitors and music fans converging on Derry from all over the world.
Hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfasts, and other accommodation providers across the north west have already taken thousands of bookings and many more visitors are expected to stay at dedicated campsites in the city during the Fleadh.
Odhrán Mullan from Fleadh Dhoire 2013 said the new office provides a central point for all organising activities.
“The new office houses everyone working on the Fleadh and is a central point for all the planning and other activities in the run up to August,” he said.
“We get calls from all over the world looking for information about accommodation. In the last few days we have had queries from Scotland, America, Canada and a whole range of countries.
“As well as being an information point for international inquiries, the office is also here for local people to call in and find out what is happening and about all the events being organised in the lead up to the Fleadh, as well as the Fleadh itself of course.
“It gives us a presence in the city centre for people walking past to come in and see what is happening and find out all about the Fleadh.
“It’s getting closer and excitement is building up so this will give local people a chance to find out what it is all about,” he said.
Odhrán also said the office will be a base for the Fleadh volunteers. “Some of the volunteers will be in the office and anyone wanting to volunteer to help out during the Fleadh, or in the run up to it, can call in and sign up. We are always looking for more volunteers so hopefully the new office will make it easier for people to sign up,” he said.
He also said plans for the Fleadh are picking up pace as the start of the festival, on August 12, gets closer. “We are coming into the fleadh season now after Easter so teams will be going to as many county and provincial fleadheanna as possible to encourage people to come to Derry in August. The Fleadh bus will also be travelling to many of the fleadheanna and many other major events throughout the country promoting the city,” he said.
Traditional music fans can get a preview of one of the Fleadh headline acts at the University of Ulster’s Trad on Campus finale concert which will be held at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin on April 5.
Beoga, who will be among the headline acts at the Fleadh in August, will join Goitse at the Trad on Campus finale in An Chultúrlann. Tickets for the event are currently on sale from the Great James’ Street venue priced £10/7.
Meanwhile, tickets for a number of the major headline Fleadh events are already on sale in the city. Tickets for ‘The Poet and the Piper, featuring Nobel Prizewinning poet Seamus Heaney and internationally acclaimed uilean piper, Liam O’Flynn, who will be performing in the city on August 14 as part of the Fleadh, are on sale at the Millennium Forum box office.
Tickets are also on sale for Cara Dillon and the Orchestra of Ireland’s show on August 15 at the same venue.
The Fleadh office can be contacted on 028 71373573.