The sights and sounds of Fleadh Cheoil Thiobraid Árainn come to the Shannonside village of Ballina this year when CCÉ Craobh Ormond host the county’s finest musicians, singers, dancers and performers from May 12-19.
This is the first time since 2014 that the Fleadh has been held in Ballina and it promises to be a great week’s entertainment for all fans of traditional arts.
For the past few months, Coiste na Flidhe (the Fleadh organising committee) have been hard at work to get together a programme of events for the Fleadh.
Cathaoirleach an Choiste Tom Boland is looking forward to the week ahead. “We have a great committee in place, made up of people from our own branch, a group of enthusiastic locals, and of course the county board. We’ve had a few late nights in Ballina, trying to put things in place, arranging sponsorship and venues. So it was great to get the final Clár na Fleidhe drawn up and we’re all looking forward to a great week next week.”
The Fleadh will begin with Aifreann na Fleidhe at 11.30am in Our Lady & St. Lua’s Church, Ballina, with different events taking place across Ballina over the week leading up to the Fleadh - a Singing Session on Monday night in Goosers, a historical night with Donnchadh Ó Cinnéide in the Lakeside Hotel on Tuesday, a school drama night Oíche Drámaíochta on Wednesday with official opening night on Thursday in Brian Boru on the Hill (O’Donovans). The weekend Fleadh competitions begin Friday evening (17th) with dancing competitions in Ballina Primary School and continuing all day Saturday and through to Sunday evening.
The Coiste are keen to invite everyone to enjoy the different events – “The events we are putting on will be of interest to everyone we feel,” says Tom Boland. “For example the singing session will begin with younger singers and will then see the launch of a CD – “Tom Gleeson – A Man for All Seasons” a compilation of recordings taken from the archives by the late Pat Swan. We are privileged to launch the CD at our Fleadh, given that the late Tom Gleeson is a former Chair of Nenagh Comhaltas. The historical night will focus on Tomás Malone, Vice Adjutant of the East Limerick Brigade. A Westmeath man who taught in Nenagh Vocational School, the talk will relate his life during the years 1913-1922 from the Rising to the War of Independence. The scoil drámaíocht night promises great variety with not just drama but also music and recitations. We would also like to invite all to our opening night in O’Donovans. Storm Hannah put paid to our launch night, so the opening night will have to be extra special! All these events are free to enter so we hope to see as many as possible in attendance.”
“On behalf of the Coiste and Ormond branch, I would like to thank all our members for their work in organizing the Fleadh and thank all in advance for their efforts over the course of the Fleadh. We also thank the people and businesses of Nenagh and Ballina for their extremely generous support. We are aware of the constant pull on local businesses and hope that all members and attendees will support the local businesses in return. We will have street music, youth sessions, marching bands and a street stage so there should be a great atmosphere around the streets of Ballina.”