President Michael D Higgins made a presentation of a gift from Comhaltas to Joe Connaire, chairperson of the Fleadh Executive Committee, following the official opening on the North Midlands Credit Union Gig Rig on Sunday afternoon.

'It's going to ramp up from tomorrow, big time', says Fleadh chair

The 2022 Fleadh Cheoil is only just warming up, Joe Connaire the chairman of the organising committee says.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner this morning, Joe says that he and the rest of the committee are very happy with how the first half of the week long event has gone, especially the opening day which was one of the best attended in the history of the fleadh.

“In my 30 odd years going to Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann I have never seen the opening day as big and that's not just because I am involved here in Mullingar.

“I think we had in the region of eight and eight and half thousand people in Blackhall on the opening day which was great.

“Monday was a damp enough day, but still there was a good atmosphere with a few street sessions. Yesterday we had a lovely day. We had Ray D'Arcy around yesterday and there was a good crowd around.”

While there was a noticeable increase in the number of street sessions yesterday (Tuesday), Joe says that it is from Thursday on that the fleadh will really spring to life.

“Not until tomorrow will you see a major crowd. I think from tomorrow on the weather is promised good and it will be a different event from tomorrow on.

“People will come into town and get settled for the competitions starting on Friday. The dancing is starting in Loreto on Friday at nine o'clock. There will be a lot of people around for the Friday competitions and then the big mayhem around all the venues will start 10 o'clock on Saturday morning when all the music, singing and lilting and all the other competitions will start.”

Joe estimates that between 30,000 to 35,000 people will hit the town tomorrow and this figure will increase significantly over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“It is going to be a totally different event from Thursday on, it's going to ramp up from tomorrow big time.

"You won't get through the streets at the weekend, there will be that many people. It's hard to envisage but that's what you'll see.

"People will see a different side of the event when Thursday afternoon comes," he said.