Belfast Telegraph

Fleadh Cheoil 'could head north'

Ireland's biggest traditional music festival could be heading north of the border for the first time.

Organisers of the Fleadh Cheoil - currently celebrating its 60th anniversary - have revealed that the week-long event may be making its way to Derry to coincide with its stint as UK city of culture in 2013.

And with the North West economy set to receive an income boost to the tune of 30 million euro, local officials have given the idea a warm welcome.

Senator Labhras O'Murchu, of Fleadh Cheoil co-ordinators Comhaltas, said holding the annual festival in the first UK city of culture would be an ideal partnership.

"My dearest personal wish is that we go north with the all-Ireland Fleadh in the near future," he said.

"Derry is a very historic city. There's a lot of heritage and the traditions of music and dance are very strong there. I also think that there would be a huge influx of visitors from Britain and North America, especially with the very high-profile year that's in it."

Fleadh Cheoil officials have been in discussions with Derry arts and language group An Culturlann to advise them about the application process.

But Senator O'Murchu said a number of other locations had expressed an interest in playing host in 2013.

"The Fleadh Cheoil is huge - there could be up to a quarter of a million people visiting in any year. There's the publicity element, with people from all over the world coming to see it and report on it. And when people come and they have a good time there's a possibility that they will come back again for a holiday."

The Fleadh Cheoil, or 'feast of music', has showcased traditional Irish dance, language and song every year since its inaugural event in Mullingar. The festival, which is currently taking place in Cavan, has never been held north of the border.

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