Fleadh Cheoil began life as a competitive event, but has evolved to include concerts, céilis, parades, pageants and street sessions.
The competitions are still at the heart of the event, with competitors of all ages taking part in a range of competitions covering all aspects of Irish music, singing and dancing – and they are very hotly contested.
Competitors qualify for this event by taking part in local Fleadhs, which are held in the months leading up to the big final. If you are not in Ireland for the National Fleadh, you can check the dates of local ones here, and they are worth seeking out if you love traditional music.
Many of those who attend Fleadh Cheoil every year never go near a competition – just about all competitors take part in concerts and in impromtu sessions in pubs and on the streets. The video above will give you a feel for the occasion and its variety.
They are the cream of the crop, so the standard of playing at these sessions is about as good as it gets. The atmosphere is always wonderful at a fleadh, friendly and very enthusiastic crowds are the norm.
Many, if not most, competitors are under 18 years old, some as young as 7 or 8, and it is a special pleasure to see the future of Irish music in such good hands.
The Fleadh returns to Ennis for the second year in 2017