Cavan bids for Ulster fleadh

Story by Sean McMahon

Saturday, 8th June, 2019 12:00pm

Cavan bids for Ulster fleadh

Adele Sulty & Katie Lennon enjoying themselves at the Cavan county Fleadh in Belturbet on Friday night. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Cavan Town is bidding to host next year’s Ulster Fleadh. The good news comes hot on the heels of the successful County Fleadh held in Belturbet over the June bank holiday weekend.

The bid by Nyah Comhaltas Cavan, under the direction of Martin Donohoe, and with the blessing of the CCE county board, sees Cavan in the running against two northern towns.
“We’d be about 90% confident,” Cavan County PRO Philip Clarke said of their proposal. “Cavan is ideal for such a big event. We have a ready-made committee here for it, and the track record of having held successive All Ireland Fleadhanna as well.”
If successful, it would be the first time the Ulster Fleadh has been held in Cavan since Cootehill staged the provincial showcase 20 years-ago, back in 1999. It was last held in Cavan Town in 1960.


Site visits will be made in the coming weeks to all three competing towns - Cavan Town, Ballygawley in Co Tyrone, and Derry City - with a decision to be as made as early as the next Ulster Comhaltas Council meeting on July 17. “We have a very strong case,” added Nyah founder, and for many the face of trad in Cavan, Martin Donohoe.

A delegate of the Ulster Council, along with Mr Clarke, Mr Donohoe praised the commitment of the 10 active Comhaltas organisations across the county.

What is most important is that the young people are on board and are really enthusiastic about bringing the Ulster Fleadh home to Cavan next year,” Martin told the Celt.

He added that to have the Ulster Fleadh in Cavan would not only provide an economic boost for the county town, but for the county as well with additional accommodation and hospitality.

It’s understood that the County Council are also aware of the proposal, and they too are supportive of Nyah Comhaltas and the County Board’s commitment to bringing the Ulster Fleadh to Cavan.

This year’s Ulster Fleadh will be held at Castlewellan, Co Down, and the small town is expected to attract upwards of 25,000 visitors, to include both competitors and enthusiasts of traditional Irish music and culture.



Key to Cavan Town’s proposal is the wealth of potential venues available for use, with the former Townhall set to come back on stream once extensive refurbishment works are completed later this year.

It’s estimated however, that to stage the Ulster Fleadh in Cavan could cost as much as €80,000.

President of Cavan Chamber of Commerce, Tommy Brady, though stated that businesses would be “excited” to see the Ulster Fleadh in Cavan.

He said the Chamber is “fully supportive” of the drive, and he too pointed out that Cavan Town has great experience of staging three previous All Ireland Fleadhanna 2010-2012.

We will be eager to get involved,” assured the Cavan Chamber President.