Nenagh savours a week-long session as thousands enjoy themselves between the jigs and the reels

Cathal Ryan, Kilkeary, who participated in the Munster Fleadh playing the accordian with his grandfather, Paddy Ryan, who won an All-Ireland Fleadh title in 1965 in Thurles among other Munster titles
Absolutely thrilled and very happy was how the Munster Fleadh organisers described the way the week-long music extravaganza in Nenagh went off.

Absolutely thrilled and very happy was how the Munster Fleadh organisers described the way the week-long music extravaganza in Nenagh went off.

Everything went like clockwork in the competitions, said committee chair Brendan Quinn.

“There was great praise for all the facilities. The town looked amazing. I am very proud of the way the town looked. It impressed the visitors,” he said. “There were a lot of people there even from outside the province.”

The competitions and workshops alone attracted an estimated 3,000 visitors to the area, with B&Bs and hotels booked out.

“There was a great buzz. It raised the bar regarding Munster Fleadhs,” he said.

Brendan praised the massive community effort thatwent into organising the event, from the volunteers on the streets to the sports clubs and groups that provided facilities and parking.

The official opening took place in a packed Abbey Court Hotel on Wednesday, with Labhras O Murchu, Comhaltas chief, welcoming everybody to the event.

With an estimated 10,000 expected in Nenagh, there was a heightened buzz of expectation around the town. But no one factored in the weather, and though the rain held off for the most part, the grey conditions undoubtedly hit numbers on the streets, especially on Pearse Street with its gig rig. The rain held off just long enough on Saturday for Olive Kilgannon’s sean nos dancers, who, according to MC Joe Arkins ranged from six to a dubious 16, to get a rousing cheer. That night, the Scouts Hall was packed for the world renowned Kilfenora Ceili Band.

Sunday’s final street ceili brought a fantastic crowd of specators and dancers to Pearse Street, and though the offical end was at teatime, you can be sure the music continued into the small hours.

The pubs were heaving with sessions each night and food outlets did a more than brisk trade - one fast food outlet had to close early on Saturday night after it ran out of food.

Nenagh cathaoirleach Cllr Ger Darcy praised the way the town looked for the week, and complimented the many volunteers and council staff who had decorated the streets. “People had rowed in behind the Fleadh,” he said.

Cllr Joe Hanningan stated that the Fleadh put Nenagh “up there as a venue” for other organisations to come to as it had everything.

District manager Marcus O’Connor described the Fleadh committee as the “most professional” the council had ever worked with. He also paid tribute to the work of council staff, the Gateway workers and the Tidy Towns committee.