The 'biggest traditional Irish music festival on the planet'
THE "biggest traditional Irish music festival on the planet" is underway in Sligo with up to 400,000 people expected to attend this year's festivities.
It is the second year in a row that Fleadh Cheoil na hhÉireann has been held in Sligo and you can catch some of the highlights live on TG4 over four nights.
Among the artists performing over the eight days are Donal Lunny, Frances Black with Aoife and Eoghan Scott, Dervish, Liam O'Flynn, Paddy Glackin, John Doyle and Cathy Doyle. There are also exhibitions, tours, talks, traditional music classes, readings, dancing workshops, busking, street sessions and Irish language classes throughout the fleadh which started on August 9.
President Michael Higgins opened proceedings by welcoming visitors with "neither ancestral nor geographic links to Ireland but who, with a curiosity that we all welcome, have developed a kinship with the Irish through culture and our folk traditions”.
Mr Higgins said a few hundred people had attended the first Fleadh Cheoil in Mullingar in 1951 at a time when "Ireland’s traditional culture was at a low ebb" but described the present day fleadh as the "biggest traditional Irish music festival on the planet".
TG4 is broadcasingt live from Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo for three hours over four nights and the show will be presented by Tyrone broadcaster Lynette Fay alongside her co-presenter from last year, Sligo's Cathy Jordan from the band Dervish. The pair will be joined by newcomer Máire Treasa Ni Dhubhghaill.
The show, Fleadh TV, will be on TG4 from 8.30pm to 11.30pm from August 13-16.
Ms Fay, who has her own BBC Radio Ulster show The Lynette Fay Show and presents the contemporary traditional music show Blas Ceoil, also on BBC Radio Ulster, said the fleadh is the biggest celebration of Irish music, culture and language anywhere in the world.
"The all Ireland Fleadh/ Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is the highlight of the Irish traditional music calendar. Fleadh TV brings the buzz and music of the fleadh into your living room."
She added: "Hundreds of thousands of people are expected. There will be music everywhere. This is the biggest celebration of Irish music, language and culture in the world and Fleadh TV provides everyone the opportunity to be part of it."
Ms Fay will be at the heart of the fleadh, roaming the streets with a film crew to capture special moments as they happen.