Dolores Minogue wants Ardee to get in on the Fleadh 2018 act this year – and thinks a regular music event in town, similar to that of Drogheda’s Music at the Gate, could be a fine addition to the area and the greater festival programme.
Taking place from Sunday August 12th to Sunday August 19th this year, Drogheda will play host to the annual event – the world’s biggest festival of Irish music, song and dance no less – the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. In 2017, 450,000 people descended on Ennis for the week long event.
As well as Drogheda itself, towns and villages around Louth are encouraged to get involved with the build-up to the event and the week itself by hosting their own events. Minogue believes Ardee could take a leaf from the Music at the Gate programme, held at St Laurence’s Gate on the south side of the town.
Beginning last August – after the Gate had been closed to traffic – the event is seen as an opportunity to bring the spirit of Fleadh to the town before thousands of visitors descend this coming August.
“I see that Music at the Gate in Drogheda is working well. It would be interesting to see whether any local music groups of individual musicians would be interesting in doing something similar in Ardee for the run up to the Fleadh. It would be one way of getting Ardee involved,” she continued.
The Music at the Gate in Drogheda is a European style event in which public spaces within an urban area are used by locals as a gathering place for arts and culture events.
The Drogheda event is free of charge and runs from on selected Saturday mornings in front of St. Laurence’s Gate on Laurence Street. It is seen as an opportunity to pop into town, enjoy musical performances, do some shopping and make use of local cafes and restaurants.
“It’s brilliant that the Fleadh is coming to the county and here is a chance for Ardee and Mid-Louth to get involved. If people are interested to come and perform some traditional music, we could try and accommodate you,” Minogue continued.
The Fine Gael councillor suggested that the front of St Marys Church of Ireland could prove the perfect location for a communal gathering in an outside location, perhaps in the spring or summer time.
“The Drogheda one has been a huge success. If anyone has some music to perform, now’s the time to do it and get involved in the Fleadh.
In September, Independent councillor Jim Tenanty asked whether Mid-Louth towns could possibly run events in conjunction with the Fleadh.
“I spoke to organisers and asked whether they could consider holding events in neighbouring towns,” he told us. “And they said, ‘Yes, no problem – that’s what the festival is all about.’ In Ennis last year, visitors were bused around to various locations. They were nearly shown the whole of Co. Clare.”
The Ardee-based councillor said that members of the Ardee Floral Art Club, who successfully held the national AOIFA Festival in the town in June, have already expressed interest in holding an event in conjunction with the Fleadh celebrations.
Organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, any events must be signed off by the committee. The Fleadh will be hosted in conjunction with Louth County Council and Drogheda Comhaltas.