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Newport gripped by Fleadh fever

Newport gripped by Fleadh fever

Áine Ryan


IT may have been a chilly April evening but summer was most definitely in the air at Hotel Newport last Thursday evening when plans were unveiled for the hosting of Fleadh Cheoil Mhaigh Eo 2012.
This festival of music, culture and craic returns to Newport for the first time since 2005 and there was a buzz of expectation among the large crowd who convened in the well-appointed venue in the middle of the west Mayo town.
The Fleadh takes place on the second weekend in May, on May 12 and 13, and is preceded by a week of various events.
“Newport is an idyllic venue for the Fleadh and the echoes of music, song and dance against the background of rolling waves adds greatly to the occasion,” said Padraig Egan, Chairperson of Comhaltas in Mayo.
The launch was performed by Mr Michael Duffy, editor of The Mayo News, who emphasised the growing importance of major cultural events in a climate of continuing recession.
“There is no doubt that the Fleadh will kick-start the summer season for everyone in Newport and it is great to see such a large turnout for the launch of the event. Comhaltas in Mayo is thriving, with 17 branches now dotted all around the county, and everyone involved is doing a fantastic job in preserving and promoting Irish traditional music and culture,” said Mr Duffy, who then officially performed the launch of Fleadh Cheoil Mhaigheo 2012.
Sharon McGreal, PRO of the local Cuilmore CCÉ branch, then addressed the attendance. She likened the huge amount of preparation work put in by the local committee to the ‘Titanic’ preparations recently conducted in Lahardane for their Titanic anniversary commemoration.
A preliminary glance at the programme suggests that this is going to be the best Fleadh that Newport has ever organised. Full details of the Fleadh programme were revealed at the press reception.
The week’s events get off the ground with a Céilí in Derradda Community Centre on Tuesday night, May 8. Wednesday, May 9 sees Seisiún na bPásití in The Bridge Inn Bar on Main Street. The Gráinne Uaile Bar is the venue on Thursday night, May 10, for a lecture on John McFadden. The lecture commences at 8.30pm and this will be followed by a seisiún for daoine fásta.
Oscailt Oifigiúl na Fleidhe will take place on Friday, May 11, in Hotel Newport at 8pm with Joe Byrne of MWR performing the honours. This will be followed by the Fleadh Concert - a tribute to John McFadden – featuring a host of prominent musicians in the Parish Hall.  The various hostelries around the town will also host music sessions with guest musicians on the night.
As is usual with Fleadh Mhaigh Eo, Saturday is an action-packed day from early morning to the late hours. Fleadh competitions take place throughout the day. Singing, music and Comhrá Gaeilge competitions take place in Holy Family NS while the Grúpaí Cheoil competitions take place in Hotel Newport. Street music sessions will continue throughout the day and there will be sessions in the hostelries at night. The day finishes with a Céilí in the Parish Hall at 10pm.
Sunday, May 8, will be another day jam-packed with activities. The day’s events begin with Aifreann as Gaeilge at 10am in St Patrick’s Church, Newport. At 11am, Set Dancing competitions commence in the Parish Hall. Comórtaisí in the U-18 and senior sections commence at 11am in Holy Family NS.
The Gig Rig is the venue for street music and dancing while Marching Band Competitions take place at 3pm in Medlicott Street. Hotel Newport is the venue for the Céilí Band competitions at 5pm and the day will finish up with the best of Trad sessions in the local hostelries.
Tá súil ag Coiste Mhaigh Eo de Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann go mbeidh na sluaite ag druidim ar Bhaile Uí Fhiacháin don deireadh seachtaine and do na hócáidí éagsúla. Tá rud éigin ann  do chuile duine  and tugtar cuireadh do chách bheith i láthair agus taitneamh a bhaint as imeachtaí na seachtaine.

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