This year's Cavan Fleadh promises to be bigger and better than ever before and the hosts, Dr Brian Galligan CCE, are ready to stage a four-day festival of ceol agus craic in Kilnaleck.
It is the second year in a row that the Kilnaleck branch have played host and, in addition to the competitions, this year's line-up is jam packed with traditional entertainment and a strong emphasis on the Irish language. While the focal point of the Fleadh weekend can often be the official competitions, this year the Dr Brian Galligan CCE committee is determined to offer a full cultural experience, even incorporating the musical traditions of Kilnaleck's multinational community, with an exhibition in The Realtóg Centre.
Once again, The Anglo Celt has come on board as media sponsors for the fleadh, which continues to attract large crowds and record competitor numbers.
This Friday evening, the official opening take place from 8pm at Main St, Kilnaleck. Dancing competitions were will held in Kilnaleck Hall, commencing at 5:30pm; while, for the first time, an U10 tin whistle contest takes place in Kilnaleck NS from 6:30pm.
Throughout the weekend there will be traditional music sessions in local pubs, where everyone is welcome to join in or come and listen. The ever popular Cissy's Kitchen will be taking up residence on Main Street so drop in for a cuppa. New to the Fleadh is a cultural exhibition celebrating local art and nature in the Kilnaleck Car Sales Showrooms, which is open all weekend and entry is free.
On Saturday, competitions will commence at 10am in St Patrick's NS and in St Patrick's Hall. All the group competitions will take place on Saturday with some solo events also scheduled. Get out your dancing shoes that evening for the Fleadh Céilí in St Patrick's Hall. Live music will be provided by the Glenside Céilí Band.
On Sunday, the majority of the solo competitions will be held. Check out the timetables below. Later, from 8pm in the Vintage Bar, there will be a musical feast. Malachy Bourke and Tony O'Connell will be hosting a live Folk Session in the back room with a tribute to the late Brendan Farrelly. Admission is free.
The Fleadh office will be located in St Patrick's NS on Saturday and Sunday while the competitions are taking place should anyone need assistance.
The Bank Holiday Monday is another busy day with lots for the younger generation. It will start with Tráth na gCeist at 2pm, bingo 'as Gaeilge' at 3pm, Foghlaim Rincí Coitianta/Ceilí 4pm (Páisti Bunscoile). Later, the internationally renowned fiddle player Frankie Gavin will be live on stage in St Patrick's Hall with special guests. Admission is €10.
Dr Brian Galligan CCE launched the Fleadh Cheoil an Chabháin 2018 in the Realtóg Centre, Kilnaleck, last Wednesday evening, supported by a capacity crowd. The support from the town and surrounding areas was crucial in coordinating the four day festival and there will be a fantastic army of parents, locals and friends on duty. Music and song at the launch evening was provided by ógra Dr Galligan CCE and speakers Eugene Kiernan, branch chairperson and Tom Sullivan, Cavan County Council, both praised the tremendous work done by the local committee and the great commitment shown by all the branch musicians especially the young people.
Philip Clarke, MC, stated: “Cavan has a long and fruitful association with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and this will again be evident at Fleadh Cheoil an Chabháin this year. When the three outstanding and memorable Fleadhanna Cheoil na hÉireann were held in Cavan, the historic connection between the host county and the cultural movement, which commenced in 1951, was central to the celebrations. There are so many accomplished Cavan folk, epitomised by Dr Brian Galligan, who grace the story of Comhaltas. Our last three consecutive Fleadhanna in Kilnaleck (2009, 2010, 2011) plus 2017 epitomised all that is good in our cultural tradition.”
* For pictures from the launch, see page 52 of this week's Celt, in shops now.