Talented harpist Kavan Donohoe along with many other young talented Cavan musicians entertains the crowd at the Fleadh Cheoil.
Over 300,000 visitors, some 1,500 volunteers, close to 300 events, an estimated €40m for the local economy and one massive party... the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil is kicking off in Cavan town this evening. You'd be mad to miss the ceol and the craic!
Apart from the official Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann competitions and Scoil Éigse summer school, there is a huge programme of events going on in the Fringe Fleadh, according to County Manager, Jack Keyes, not to mention the number of impromptu sessions that will crop up in pubs and on streets all over the town.
An events guide booklet has just been published and is available for free from Council offices locally, as well as hotels and shops including Easons and Crannóg in Cavan town.
"It includes 280 different items in it," said Mr Keyes pointing to the extensive range of concerts, family activities, Irish language events, art exhibitions, dramatic productions, displays, lectures, walks and tours. "It's phenomenal."
Mr Keyes added: "Last year we have one major concert in the dome. This year there's six, that will give some idea of the scale. I'm worried that people won't grasp the scale of what's on and not make enough time to get to all of the events."
Of the ticketed concerts in the Liberty Insurance Dome at Cavan Institute, the FEC chairman points to Clannad and Altan, Eleanor Shanley, Trad Legends and Sharon Shannon as being among the big headliners.
"It would be tragic if Cavan people didn't get to one of these," said Mr Keyes.
And the FEC is counting on local people to support these concerts to help to cover the €750,000 cost of staging the fleadh in Cavan town. Tickets are available from Multisound in Cavan and from the fleadh website (www.fleadhcheoil.ie)
But of all the near 300 events that are taking place, what is Mr Keyes looking forward to the most?
Without hesitation, he replied the Good Works arts service in the Cathedral on the first night of the fleadh this evening (Friday, August 10) in the Cathedral of Ss Patrick & Felim in Cavan town from 9.15pm. Conducted by award-winning John Byrne it will feature the Palestrina Choir.
"That will be probably one of the most spectacular events ever seen in this region this Friday night," said Mr Keyes. Of John Byrne's work, he added: "This will be the premiere and it will travel around the world."
He hinted at cranes and dancers mid air of the spectacle to be expected outside. "A lot of effort has gone into this night," said the County Manager.
But that's not all to be expected on the first Friday. "We will be starting with a bang," said Mr Keyes also referring to highlights of the day and evening including the Concert of No Musical Demarcation in the Dome at 7.30pm and a conference on emigration in the County Museum - 'Melting Down' - Weaving themes of emigration, exile and Place.
Mr Keyes is urging people in the county and further afield to pick up the events guide - or browse through the events listings in the official fleadh supplement (free inside this week's Anglo-Celt and available online on our website) so that they can plan ahead and make the most of the Cavan Fleadh - the third and last for a while.
For families, he recommended the parade on the first Sunday, August 12, after mass at 12.30pm followed by a Family Fun Day in Con Smith Park from 2pm.
Above all, he said: "The real emphasis of the fleadh is the core events - the scoil eigse and the competitions. To get a real sense of what the fleadh is about, you should visit some of the competitions."
Mr Keyes pointed out that it being the All-Ireland Fleadh, competitors in their various fields represent the best of talent in traditional Irish music in this country and the world.
He's encouraging locals to come into town as often as possible during the fleadh to savour the atmosphere, noticing the lift in spirits that's already evident all around Cavan town and county.
"I can sense a change in the mood. The fleadh is coming!"
* For full event listings, see the official fleadh supplement inside this week's Anglo-Celt or on our epaper online here.