Welcome the Fleadh!
ALLOW me to be frank and honest. I cannot remember the last time I attended a Fleadh Cheoil. As some rock musician said about the sixties, ‘If you remember, you weren’t there’’
It was back in the days when a whiff of a barmaid’s apron had me drunk for a week. Anyway with my looks, lack of inches, charm, personality and dancing skills probably not a lot. I do remember some of naughty misbehaviour of others, but like the priest in the Confessional my lips are sealed. What happens at the Fleadh stays at the Fleadh.
Belated congratulations to the organising committee. They have worked hard over the years planning the official events which they will be responsible for organising. I say official as there will be a host of activities which will spring up during the week, street music, dancing, etc. It will be like a hooley, while the official party will be in the sitting-room, lounge if you’re posh, you will see breakaway group on the stairs or in the kitchen where I usually hang out. People encourage me into the kitchen. I suppose if I’m eating I can’t talk.
The members of the Committee have been attending the Fleadh for many years, some for decades. I know some of the people involved and their organising skills are second to none. I am very aware that they have been in contact with numerous groups around the town identifying what input they can provide. Some groups privately traveled to this year’s Fleadh to consult some of the stakeholders as to how they provide services.
When you observe a duck on a pond all seems calm while underneath the said bird is paddling hard. The Fleadh committee knows what has to be done and it is being done.
They presented a plan to the National Fleadh Committee of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. They fought off competition from other towns who wanted to organise the 2018 event. Unless their plan was viable they would not have won the hosting of this great event. Hosting it is not only a great honour but it will create extra employment in the weeks before and during. I would hope that local businesses will adopt a welcoming approach and not rip off visitors. If they do they can say goodbye to a possible second year.
When CCE and the Fleadh Committee have all their ducks lined up in a row they will publish them. The function of the community is to get behind the organisers and enjoy the events, official and on the streets. We are in for a treat of a week, a fantastic feast of Irish Traditional Music and Dance and much more.
Of course we will have the usual suspects complaining about little and nothing.
I would say to them go organise your own party.
Let us, the people of Drogheda row behind the people who are bringing Fleadh Cheoil Na hEireann to the town. They are not politicians. They know what they are doing. They are doing it because they love our traditions. They love their home town. They will do more in one week for Drogheda that any politician could, in their wildest dreams, do in a lifetime in politics.
Let us roll out the welcome mat. There will be more visitors to Drogheda than attended the Papal Mass in Killineer. Let us send out a positive message. When people hear the phrase Cead Mile Failte let them think of Drogheda Yours, Gerry Floyd.
The Fleadh will be huge for Drogheda.