Fleadh Cheoil

Fleadh Cheoil

Date: 13/08/2020 09:23

The world’s largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance, organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, was due to start last week in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath – the birthplace of the festival. With the event attracting in the region of 500,000 visitors to the host town every year, it was sure to have provided much entertainment for all who came to witness the best of what Ireland can offer. 

In spirit of this lively festival why not delve into the footage which the Digital Film Archive holds and transport yourselves to 1964 and 1965 Fleadh Cheoil, held in Clones and then Thurles. 

In the video below, watch as the presenter drives out of the Ulster Prince Ship in Belfast, ask a passer-by for directions to the festival before heading on his way to Clones in Co. Monaghan. With scenes of vendors and commentary on the multiple cases of alcohol, it's clear the festivities are soon to begin - described as "almost medieval" the preparations look like it could be for a "bardic feast...with Guinness".

Live street performances are heard from Eddie Sweeny, Ambrose McDermott and Peter McQuillian before the festival begins, and once the festival is officially opened music is heard from every corner. Battling his way through the crowds, the reporter manages to get a pint and wonders the packed streets to listen to musicians such as Liam Clancy, Maureen, Cathal McConnell and Micky McCann. Eventually though the revelry begins to wind down as people begin to drift off, Monday morning is soon here, and the clean-up begins.  

To watch the Fleadh Cheoil from Thurles (1965), click here.