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August 10th – 17th 2014

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is Ireland’s biggest traditional Irish music festival, a week long celebration of Irish music, song, dance and culture. From the first timer to the experienced session musician, you’ll find a cultural mix like no other at the Fleadh Cheoil.

Fleadh means party – and this Summer we invite you to visit Sligo, Ireland for this annual celebration of all things Irish. From music concerts to street performances, pageants to pub sessions, we’ve got a great line–up in place for the Fleadh, taking place between August 10th–17th, 2014.

Sligo is known as Yeats country and provides much of the landscape which inspired Ireland’s greatest ever poet. Iconic images of Ben Bulben mountain and the forest walks at Hazelwood provided the canvas for some of WB Yeats’ greatest works, and this landscape provides a wonderful backdrop to Ireland’s great cultural gathering.

Every year the Fleadh attracts musicians and music fans in great numbers, but also offers so much to the casual tourist. Sligo is just a two and a half hour drive from Dublin, and the great outdoors – quite literally – lies just on our doorstep. Within 5 minutes of Sligo town, you can surf at Strandhill, play golf at the world– famous links course at Rosses Point, or visit the 7,000 year old megalithic tombs of Carrowmore.
That’s before you get to take in one of several blue flag beaches, followed by a relaxing seaweed bath, a bite to eat in one of our award–winning restaurants, before ending the evening at one of many music events that will take place throughout the Fleadh.

And what a programme of events we’ve got lined up for you. Take in live concerts with established acts like Dervish, the Mairtín O’Connor Band, Arty McGlynn and many more. Head for the pub to join in at a session, or for something completely different, what about the orchestral work Boirimhe, a musical reinactment of the Battle of Clontarf, which took place 1,000 years ago. From intimate venues like the Hawks Well and Model theatres to bigger spaces like the Knocknarea Arena and the outdoor Gig Rig, you’ll certainly not want for lack of choice!

For those who want to immerse themselves in Irish culture, the Fleadh offers a weeklong series of fringe events – many of them free of charge. From music workshops and classes for musicians of all abilities from complete beginner to advanced, to lectures on different aspects of the tradition, through to concerts, indoor and outdoor, intimate sessions in pubs, all of which takes place in a family friendly environment.

The centre of Sligo will become fully pedestrianised for the week of the Fleadh to enable you to get around to as many events as you can with ease, and to mix and match as you see fit. Park and Ride facilities will ferry Fleadh visitors to and from the centre of town at regular intervals. Live feeds will be provided through the Fleadh app – which is being developed at present – and social media will also enable everyone to find out the what, where, when and how of the Fleadh at the touch of a smartphone.

And then there’s the competitive aspect of the Fleadh. From early on in the Summer, musicians of all ages will have been taking part in their local county and provincial Fleadhanna and the winners of these will compete for the All Ireland in their given instrument. Upwards of 10,000 musicians are expected in Sligo for the competitions, which are also open to the public to attend. So whether you’re a competitor, family member, supporter or casual observer, the door is open to one and all.

It’s been over 20 years since Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann was last hosted by Sligo – we can’t wait to bridge that gap this August. To the first time visitor we extend a ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’, to the returning emigrant we say ‘Fáilte Abhaile’, and to all we promise a Fleadh to remember.

10 Fab Facts about the Fleadh
1 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann began in 1951, and takes place annually in different towns and cities around Ireland.
2 The Fleadh Cheoil is run by the Sligo Fleadh Committee, on behalf of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the national body charged with the development of traditional Irish music.
3 The Fleadh attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. In 2012 the Fleadh in Cavan attracted in excess of 300,000 people during the week, generating over €40m for the local economy (figures from Fáilte Ireland – national tourism agency).
4 The Fleadh last took place in Sligo in 1989, 1990 and 1991 and will also return in 2015.
5 Sligo is known for the Sligo Style of fiddle playing, made famous by the renowned gramophone recordings of Michael Coleman in the 1920’s. Along with other Sligo musicians like James Morrison and Paddy Killoran, Coleman brought Sligo music to the world stage.
6 The Fleadh has a distinct family flavour, one which people of all ages can enjoy in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.
7 The Fleadh is driven largely by volunteers. The Fleadh Ambassador programme will see large members of the community get involved at every level to ensure the delivery of a successful Fleadh.
8 When visitors come to Sligo for the Fleadh we will encourage them to visit different tourist amenities, many of which are located right on our doorstep.
9 A large body of cross border workshops, pageants and performances will bring groups from different social and cultural backgrounds together as part of the Fleadh 2014 programme.
10 The Fleadh will be officially opened by President of Ireland Michael D Higgins in August.

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