Cavan punches above its weight at All-Ireland Fleadh
Mullingar bid to host event in 2023
Cavan competitors made a big impact at 70th annual Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Mullingar claiming 29 medals across 16 competitions. There were ten golds, 12 silvers and seven bronze medals - no doubt the legacy of Cavan having hosted three successive All-Ireland fleadhanna from 2020-2012.
Barry Conaty, a member of Nyah CCÉ, enjoyed great success as a double All-Ireland winner. He took first place in the Senior Flute and Senior Piano competitions.
He was also a member of the Glor na dTonn Céilí Band, Achill Island, who were awarded third place in the prestigious Senior Ceili Band Competition in the Fleadh.
Previous winners in the Senior Ceili Band competitions would have included the famous Kilfenora Ceili Band and one of the previous winners on Barry's Flute trophy is the famous player Matt Molloy.
The birthplace of Comhaltas, it’s estimated that more than half a million visitors attended the Mullingar over the course of the week. Dubbed the Homecoming, over 5,000 competitors from Ireland and abroad went head-to-head to take home All-Ireland titles in over 230 competitions - with many local winners.
Hundreds of students also took part in Scoil Éigse, the annual Comhaltas Summer School, where folks of all ages and backgrounds come together to take part in various music, singing, dancing and Irish language classes.
Some of the most magical moments from the week included an uplifting opening ceremony by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, a special performance by Ukrainian refugees; an award ceremony for former Taoiseach Brian Cowen for his long-time commitment to Comhaltas and the Inaugural Ashling Murphy Scholarships were awarded to musicians, Lisa Ward, Caoimhe Maddigan and Jason McGuinness by parents of the late Ashling Murphy at the The Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra.
Last, but not least the ‘Boithrín na Smaointe’ Commemorative Concert took place to reflect on the origins of Comhaltas and the families of Co Westmeath who were instrumental in building Comhaltas and Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann – from a small gathering of 400 in 1951 to the monumental world-renowned gathering it has become.
Joe Connaire, chairperson of the Fleadh Executive Committee said: “It’s been a privilege to host this year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Mullingar. We are so proud of the town and the surrounding community for coming together and creating a really memorable celebration. We’d also like to thank our dedicated team of volunteers who were complimented throughout the week for their dedication and hard work. Everything from the gig rigs, to street performances and of course the competitions were warmly received, with Fleadh goers once again showing that the spirit of traditional music is still alive and well across not only Ireland, but the globe!”
Speaking about the event, the Árdstiúrthóir of Comhaltas Labhrás Ó Murchú said: “The Fleadh has been an outstanding success against a background of two years of exceptional challenge. The hundreds of thousands of people who have converged on Mullingar from every part of Ireland and right across the world have been expressing their joy at being reunited with friends and colleagues at the Fleadh.”
He continued: “The Fleadh committee in partnership with Westmeath County Council have done an exceptional job. The tens of thousands of musicians in attendance have been enjoying one of the best fleadhs in the history of the festival. We are so pleased that we have three applications to host the Fleadh in 2023. They are Mullingar, Belfast and Wexford. The decision will be made by the Árdchomhairle of Comhaltas on 3rd September, 2022.”
Piano (O18), 1st Barry Conaty, NYAH CCÉ
Bodhrán (O18), 1st Dáire Smith, Cavan Town CCÉ
Céilí Drums (12-15), 2nd, Eimear McCabe, Cavan Town CCÉ
Uilleann Pipes Slow Airs (U12), 2nd Eoghan McGovern, Cavan Town CCÉ
Flute Slow Airs (15-18), 1st Brendan O’Reilly, Mullahoran CCÉ
Flute Slow Airs (15-18), 2nd Ruairí Griffin, Dr Galligan CCÉ
Whistle Slow Airs (15-18), 1st Ruairí Griffin, CCÉ, Dr. Galligan, Cavan
Button Accordion (15-18), 3rd Daithi Waters, Cavan Town CCÉ
Flute (O18), 1st Barry Conaty, NYAH CCÉ
8-Hand Céilí Dancing, Ladies (U12), 2nd Mullahoran CCÉ
4-Hand Céilí Dancing, Mixed (U12), 3rd Mullahoran CCÉ
4-Hand Céilí Dancing, Mixed (12-15), 1st Mullahoran CCÉ
Storytelling (U12), 2nd, Ódhran Ó Raghallaigh, Mullahoran CCÉ
Storytelling (15-18), 1st, Saidhbh Ní Raghallaigh, Mullahoran CCÉ
Uilleann Pipes (U12), 3rd Eoghan McGovern, Cavan Town CCÉ
Mouth Organ (15-18), 3rd Aodhán O’Coileáin, Dr Galligan CCÉ