The stage is now set for Nenagh to host Fleadh na Mumhan in July, with close to 20,000 visitors expected in the town for the week-long event.
Its official launch was carried out by internationally renowned local singer Nora Butler at a gala event in the Abbey Court Hotel last Thursday.
“It is a tremendous honour to be asked to launch the Fleadh. I am charmed,” she told the gathering.
Ms Butler said she was delighted the fleadh was coming to Nenagh and pointed out that while music was not always respected in public houses over the past 15 or 20 years, it was now going from strength to strength.
Organising committee chairman Brendan Quinn said it was a “proud moment” to have the fleadh in the town and it had been awarded to Nenagh on the back of two successful county fleadhs in Ballina in 2013 and 2014.
“When we applied to host the fleadh 18 months ago we knew we had to tick a few boxes, among them being that Irish music was strong here, the town was fit for purpose with brilliant facilities, a hard working committee, and funding,” said Mr Quinn.
He praised the late Paddy O’Brien for his generosity in passing on his music and creating a style synonymous with the area, the four schools that will host events, all the volunteers and sponsors Tipperary County Council, Arrabawn Co-op, Abp Nenagh.
Nenagh district manager Marcus O’Connor told the launch the fleadh fitted in with the council’s vision for the town to make it a better place for visitors as well as for people to live and work in. He pointed out that in the past few years, the local council had developed the town park, cycleways around the town and Nenagh castle had opened to the public, while on the arts side, the town had a new arts centre and the Scouts Hall had reopened, giving excellent performance spaces.
“The council has tried to promote events that will bring people into the town, such as the Visit Nenagh Classic and the St Patrick’s Day parade, but the fleadh is in a different league. It is the daddy of them all,” he said.
Mr O’Connor said the event should be of enormous boost to the town especially after a few lean years for traders.
“We now need the whole town to get behind it,” he said.
The Munster Comhaltas chair Tadhg O Maolcatha, who described the fleadh as a great community event, paid tribute to those who had brought the fleadh to this stage.
Mr O Maolcatha said it was right that the fleadh should be supported by the council, saying: “You are supporting your culture. Nenagh has a lot to boast of in terms of culture and heritage. There is a lot of history which everybody should be proud of. It will be an unforgettable experience. People from six counties will be taking part as well as those who will come from other provinces. They will be happy to return. The fleadh will boost Nenagh,” he said.
Among the highlights of the week, which runs from July 12 to 19, will be a tribute concert to Nora Butler, numerous trad sessions in pubs and on the streets, a concert by the famous Kilfenora Ceili Band and a gig rig on Pearse Street, which will be closed to traffic over the weekend. The fleadh will also feature competitions and workshops in dance, music and intstrument repairs.