Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann– the biggest festival of music in Ireland

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 10:10:31


(VOVworld) – Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is the biggest festival of music in Ireland where musicians, singers, and dancers, compete to achieve the recognition of being the All-Ireland Champion. It is an event full of fun to be enjoyed. Today VOV will talk to Stein Carpenter, an Irish teacher who lives in Hanoi, about this fantastic festival.

Q: Hello Stein Carpenter! Irish music is popular worldwide with celebrities like Boyzone, the Corrs, Sinead O’conor, One Direction, and so many others. Being an Irish, what do you think about your country’s music scene?

A: Ireland is full of festivals. Throughout the year, Ireland has a very rich music scene, a lot of traditional folk music – a very proud music. We have bands like U2 coming out of the Ireland as well, The Script … and we have a lot of fans as well. More recognized would be Bono, then we have Westlife, Boyzone, Ronan Keating, Sinead O’Connor…And for some of the folk bands, we have The Dubliners…Apart from traditional music, we also have electronic music. It has become a huge scene in Ireland over the past 5 to 10 years. Ireland is a very small country, but now a lot of people know about it. Our music scene is very talented, and there is no bad music in our country. We’re open to as many cultures as possible. 

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 The Fleadh Cheoil na’hEireannn attracts tens of thousands of participants each year (Photo: media.ireland.com)

Q: Among the festivals of music in Ireland, what is the biggest and most famous?

A: Today I would like to talk about the Fleadh Cheoil in Ireland. The Fleadh would be one of Ireland’s biggest traditional music festivals. It starts on the 14th of August and it goes until the 22nd. It lasts for about a week each year. I have some information that it has happened for the last 60 years across Ireland, and the goal of the Fleadh has been to establish standards in Irish traditional music through competition. There are various stages to the competition. It also attracts overseas competitors as Britain and North America have regional stages of qualification for the All-Ireland.  The Fleadh has developed as a mainly competitive event but it attracts 10 of thousands of visitors every year. The Fleadh is an exciting week encompassing competitions, sessions, ceili bands, concerts, pageants, marching bands, drama, and exhibitions, all saluting the best of Irish traditional culture.

Q: Where does the festival take place?

A: In Ireland, there are county and provincial competitions leading to the All-Ireland Fleadh. It will vary between different towns and cities, or across the country. Twice before, the All-Ireland Fleadh has been held in a town called Ennis, in 1956 and 1977, and both were landmark events in the history of Irish traditional music. Now Ennis and County Clare will host the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann once again and through a cooperative effort involving local authorities, business people, sporting organizations and local volunteers. The Fleadh Down In Ennis 2016 is the best Fleadh ever!

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The Fleadh Cheoil 2016 was held in Ennis town, comprising competitions, parades, concerts, and more (Photo: fleadhcheoil.ie )

Q: So what do people often do at the event?

A: For Irish people, we have a term, “craic”. We love having the “craic” – we just have fun. It is very commonly used in Ireland. For a festival, that’s all we’re going to do. We go out there to leave the stress of our work behind, and to celebrate our own culture, to celebrate the differences we have from all the nations across the world.

Q: Are there any rules for the competition?

A: Across the nation, for the Fleadh, people just play on the sides of the street, make their own sessions. There is no limitation. Nothing is restricted. They’re just on the stage. You just walk around the street and you’ll see people are playing everywhere. You’ll have some Irish dancers. Irish dancing is so crazy. The most famous would be “Lord of the Dance” with Michael Flatley. It is an iconic dance of the Irish nation, the one that will be remembered in history for ever and ever. You will see a lot of things like this at the Fleadh Cheoil. A lot of traditional dances and a lot of traditional dresses.  

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 A young girl band participating in the competition of Fleadh Cheoil 2016 (Photo:fleadhcheoil.ie)

Q: Who will be the judges?

A: We’ll have judges at the end of the competition. There will have some celebrity judges attending the event as well, maybe Ed Sheeran, a member from U2, or Sinead O’Connor, any Irish famous artists who have privilege to the Fleadh Cheoil. It’s a fair festival. For the Fleadh Cheoil, it is basically a traditional event. But because times are changing, younger generations are coming forward with new ideas, new inspirations, so the Fleadh is open to any type of music.

Q: Thank you Stein Carpenter, for talking about The Fleadh Cheoil, one of the most famous music festivals in Ireland. For VOV24/7’s Culture Rendezvous segment, I’m TL, saying goodbye to you until the next time!