Cahir plays host to biggest ever County Fleadh in Tipperary

Niamh Dillon


Niamh Dillon


Cahir plays host to biggest ever County Fleadh in Tipperary

The winning Marching Band from Moyne National School gallantly stride up the hill, with Cahir Castle pictured in the background Photo: Cahir Media

The streets of Cahir came alive last weekend as the sound of traditional Irish music spilled out of countless venues  to celebrate the Tipperary County Fleadh.

Nearly 1,500 musicians, dancers and singers  took to the stage throughout the week long festivities proving that the traditional Irish music scene in Tipperary is stronger than ever.

However Cahir Comhaltas and the wider Cahir community certainly stepped up to the plate to deliver a week of events and activities that included singers circles, impromptu street concerts, storytelling events, heritage walking tours and ceilis. 

“It's been a wonderful few days and we can't thank enough the work of our volunteers and sponsors for their help in making this one of the biggest county fleadh's yet. The judging panel said they were highly impressed by the standard of all competitors and each decision was a difficult one to make which is highly encouraging for comhaltas branches across the county,” said Cahir Comhaltas PRO Mary Harty. 

Box Player John Walsh entertained in The Hill Bar on Thursday night

Recognition was also paid to two long serving members of Comhaltas, husband and wife Michael and Mary Harty from Cahir, who between them have given close to 80 years of service to the promotion of traditional music and language in Tipperary. On Thursday night Mary and Michael were awarded the Gradam award, the supreme accolade of Comhaltas Board Thiobraid Árann.

Self taught musician Michael, who is originally from Thurles, is known the length and breadth of the country with several All Ireland titles to his name as well being one of a select few chosen to perform for President Ronald Regan in Ballyporeen in 1984.  

Michael is also a familiar face to countless young people in Limerick and Tipperary having spent years teaching music in VEC schools as well as setting up Seisiun groups in Cahir and Clonmel which have been performing for visitors every summer since 2001. 

Praise was also heaped on Two Mile Borris native Mary for her steadfast work, often behind the scenes, in ensuring traditional music in Cahir continues to flourish year on year. From her days spent learning music at the Presentation Thurles to her work with Cahir Comhaltas as current treasurer and PRO, as well as  her involvement in organising the hugely successful Cahir Tradfest, Mary's steadfast commitment to the promotion of Irish music took centre stage and was fittingly recognised  at the ceremony on Thursday night. 

St. Mary's Newport student Niamh Burke from Birdhill took the top honours in the U18 Harp category telling the Tipperary Star that she's now focusing her energy on getting through the next stage of the competition at the Munster Fleadh later this summer.  

Meanwhile Borrisokane's Emma Fitzgerald, 13, said the competition can be a great means of learning new styles and techniques from watching her fellow musicians in action. 

"I love listening to the other musicians. There's a great atmosphere at the fleadh, whether you like trad music or not, there's something for everyone," said the talented mandolin player who took second place in the 12-15 age category.

Emma Fitzgerald who placed 2nd in the Mandolin (12-15). Photo: Cahir Media