Castlewellan ready for Fleadh

Castlewellan ready for Fleadh

18 July 2018

The Ulster Fleadh is expected to boost the economy of Castlewellan by £2.25m.

The traditional music Irish music event festival runs from July 23 to 29, with 25,000 visitors expected over that period.

It’s the third year that County Down has the honours of hosting the Ulster event, with Bangor doing the honours in 2016 and 2017.

Castlewellan’s hospitality businesses are now hoping to enjoy a similar boost to those enjoyed in Bangor.

Featuring music competitions and concerts across a wide range of instruments and ages, cultural activities and legendary traditional music headline acts, over 200 Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Eireann volunteers have been working hard to put together another stellar line-up of activities and concerts.

With around 6,000 competitors of all ages involved, the Ulster Fleadh is a unique family friendly experience offering something for everyone, bringing the community together to celebrate music, song, dance and language.

The programme of events includes guided tours of historical sites and cross-community concerts highlighting the shared nature of Ulster’s cultural heritage.

Local Comhaltas Branch chairwoman Roisin Howell said it was a fantastic opportunity for the town. 

“Castlewellan will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that this year’s event is bigger and better than ever,” she said. “We will be working with local businesses and the council to ensure the benefits will be felt across County Down.”

The Ulster Fleadh experience offers visitors the chance to listen to some of the finest exponents of Irish music from across the world free of charge, playing in relaxed street and pub sessions.

Brendan McAleer, Director of Ulster Comhaltas, explained: “The Ulster Fleadh celebrates all that’s good about culture, and is an opportunity to showcase the talent of our traditional musicians, which we are renowned for worldwide.”

“The Ulster Fleadh offers something for everyone, and with many of the events free to attend, it’s a great way to enjoy some culture and craic, and maybe even inspire a few people to dust down a forgotten instrument.”

Artists from across Ireland and Britain making visits over the week.

Among the local musicians taking part are the Newry, Mourne and Down Youth Trad Orchestra. They will play in St Malachy’s Church in Castlewellan on July 26 at 7pm.

The Ulster Fleadh in Castlewellan will also be featured on TG4’s FleadhTV.

The broadcasters will be in town on July 29 to cap off their coverage of the four Provincial Fleadhs in Ireland. The show will airs from 8pm to 9.30pm.

FleadhTV first appeared on TV screens in 2013 and is now one of TG4’s flagship programmes of the year. In 2017 the series was watched by over 700,000 over the weekend of live shows, and one million video views were logged on FleadhTV’s own social networks.

The programme is produced by the double IFTA Award winning team at Gifted Empire Productions, led by Paul McKay.

Presenters include Hector Ó hEochagáin, who is returning this year alongside renowned musician and gaeilgóir Doireann Ni Ghlacáin, who is making her debut on FleadhTV.

Full details of all events can be found at or on Facebook. The Fleadhanna in Ulster are supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Tourism Northern Ireland and Newry, Mourne and Down Council.