Harpists at the Mullingar Fleadh Cheoil 2022. Photo: Noel Murphy

Atrium to showcase photographers' Fleadh photos

Let a good photographer loose at a mass gathering, and they will produce views and results that the untrained eye would probably never notice.

And that is exactly what happened when ten top snappers from the Mullingar Camera Club set out with their cameras to capture the fun and atmosphere that Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann brought to the streets of Mullingar for ten days last summer.

The fruits of that enterprise are to go on display at The Atrium in the county buildings in Mullingar from this Tuesday, March 21.

A large-scale exhibition, the show is to consist of over fifty prints, which means the exhibits will be displayed over a larger area of The Atrium than most exhibitions.

As well as the prints there will be a rolling digital display of other photos from the festival.

That extra space will also be required to accommodate the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann musicians who are due to play at the opening.

There is an open invitation to all to attend, but the Camera Club members hope especially that as many as possible of those who were involved in any way with the Fleadh will come along.

The cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke is to perform the opening, which is happening at 6pm.

Bob Morrison, of the Camera Club, says the shots are a mix of pictures from organised concerts and competitive events and photographs taken in more informal settings.

“I would have personally covered all the concerts in the cathedral, because that's what I like to do as well as the streets.

“I would have also covered the Fleadh TV on the Saturday night which happened to include Bressie and Kathy Davy and people like that.”

He was also pleased to be able to photograph the band with which the late murdered Tullamore schoolteacher Aisling Murphy was associated.

But it’s not just the performers who caught the photographers’ attention: “We have sections on all the people who volunteered; the gardaí, the organisers and a set of photos of people in the streets and in the pubs.

“It was a wonderful occasion. It was really nice. Everybody enjoyed it, and the whole idea of the exhibition is to reflect that and show just exactly how it was and how good it was for Mullingar.”

Camera Club colleague Noel Murphy said that the display “not only connects us but records our past, reminding us of people, places, feelings, and events that took place here in August 2022”.

“It is said that an exhibition tells a story and a picture tells a thousand words,” Noel said. “We not only hope that the images on display fulfil that statement but that also they grab your attention and inspire you to respond physically by making images of your own.”

The photos on display were selected by a committee comprising former Irish Times and award-winning photographer Tom Lawlor, Fellow Irish Photographic Federation (FIPF) and IPF Vice-President and member of Mountmellick Photographic Society Dominic Reddin together with Bob Morrison FIPF and Associate Royal Photographic Society (ARPS) and IPF Distinctions Secretary. After a thorough selection process the committee chose the images they felt best recorded the everyday activities of the Fleadh, from street performances to concerts, from pub sessions to volunteers and from TV to the general public.

The exhibition is to remain on display for four weeks, and if anyone wants to buy any of the prints, they will be able to arrange to do so.

Anyone interested in becoming a better photographer, learning more or meeting others who share a passion for photography is welcome to join Mullingar Camera Club. The Club meets twice a month on Wednesdays. Meetings are held in Mullingar Arts Centre, commencing at 7.30.p.m. and finishing at 9.p.m. For further information, e mail secretarycameraclub@hotmail.com