Comhaltas may stage Fleadh Cheoil in North for the first time


COMHALTAS CEOLTÓIRÍ Éireann is considering a historic move to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Northern Ireland, according to director general Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú.

Mr Ó Murchú was reviewing the success of this year’s Fleadh which attracted many thousands of visitors to Tullamore, Co Offaly.

The move would be a first in 59- year history of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Mr Ó Murchú said it was incumbent on Comhaltas to host a fleadh in Northern Ireland as it had contributed greatly to traditional song and dance in Ireland.

While hosting such an event in the North would have been contentious some years ago, Mr Ó Murchú said he believed the climate was right for such a move.

Comhaltas had always been an inclusive organisation and members of all communities had been welcome to participate, he said.

“I have met personally with a few of the Orange Order who came down to study our own organisation.”

He said there were similarities in the organisations because both Comhaltas and the Orange Order “have challenges promoting something that is traditional”.

Mr Ó Murchú has also met SDLP committee members in relation to the move. He said Comhaltas should now “have the fleadh over the Border”.

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann takes place over nine days with traditional lessons, live performances and competitions in all aspects of traditional song, dance, storytelling and performance.

The event is estimated to contribute €25 million to the local economy annually.

Mr Ó Murchú said Comhaltas was looking “very closely” at hosting the event in the North