Ballinasloe in east Galway is the venue for Fleadh Cheoil Chonnacht in 2012 and preparations are at an advanced stage for the staging of the Fleadh on July 7 and 8 next.
The Fleadh will be preceded by a week-long series of events starting on Monday, July 2. East Galway has long been regarded as a mecca of Traditional Irish music and song and it has produced some of the most famous exponents of the genre. It is five years since Galway last hosted a provincial Fleadh and this year's event promises something for everyone.
Full details of the Fleadh programme were announced at a reception in the The Carlton Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe on Wednesday night last, June 20. Fleadh 2012 was launched by local TD Paul Connaughton. Following the celebration of its 60th birthday last year Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and the Provincial Fleadh assume a role of increasing importance in the economic and cultural life of this country. Hosting a provincial Fleadh is now a major event in the calendar of the host town.
Comhaltas has grown enormously since Ballinasloe last hosted Fleadh Chonnacht. Trojan work has been done this past while by a very active local committee to ensure that this year's event runs smoothly. Indications at this time suggest that Fleadh Chonnacht 2012 will be one of the best and biggest ever seen in Connacht. The local coiste have left no stone unturned to ensure its success.
Activities get under way on Monday night, July 2, at 9pm. The local branch of CCÉ is hosting a night of video entertainment in the Emerald Bar highlighting their achievements in the 80s and 90s. This is a must for all local enthuasiasts of the Trad scene. Tuesday night features a multi cultural evening in the Dunlo Bar at 8.30pm.
The Supper Room in the Emerald Bar is the venue for a Céilí workshop on Wednesday, July 3, from 11am until 3.30pm. This promises to attract a huge crowd as céilí dancing is very popular in these surrounds. That night there will be a seisiún in An Táin at 9.30pm.
The Céilí Dancing Workshop continues on Thursday, July 4, from 11am until 3.30pm in the Supper Room in the Emerald Ballroom. This will also feature a Sean Nós workshop. Thursday night is also Singing Night with the Singing Circle holding court in the Dunlo Tavern from 9.30pm.
Friday, July 6, sees the official opening of Fleadh Cheoil Chonnacht 2012 in Gullane's Hotel at 8pm. This will be followed by a gala concert and will culminate in a special seisiún in the Emerald Bar. The Sean Nós workshops also continue on the Friday night.
Saturday, July 7, is the start of the Fleadh proper. As is usual with Fleadh Chonnacht it is an action packed day from early morning to the late hours with competitions starting at 10am.
The afternoon sees live music on the Gig Rig in the Square. The Fleadh Mass will be celebrated in St Michael's Church at 7pm. Saturday night is also Céilí night and Hayden's Hotel is the venue with Rise The Dust Céilí Band providing the music. Céilí commences at 10pm. All the major hosteleries throughout the town also feature Trad Music Sessions on Saturday night.
Fleadh competitions resume at 10am on Sunday morning, July 8.
The afternoon will see live entertainment on the Gig Rig in the Square and, once again all the major hostelries in the town will feature Trad Sessions.
Connacht Comhaltas fraternity can expect a huge welcome in Ballinasloe in East Galway. The streets and halls of the town will echoe to the sound of the box and the bodhran, the fiddle and the flute. The beat of the bodhran will welcome friend and foe alike and the sound of music, song and dance will be heard throughout East Galway. This is a weekend not to be missed and you don't have to be a competitor to come along and enjoy it. Beidh fáilte roimh chách.
Ballinasloe branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann expect large crowds to come out to the various events. There is something there for everybody and the long week of festivities promises to be unforgettable. Mar sin bígí linn don deireadh seachtaine and bainigí taitneamh is sult as na h-imeachtaí go léir.