Belfast Telegraph

Derry bids to host the All-Ireland Fleadh again after success of 2013

By Donna Deeney

Plans to bring the All-Ireland Fleadh back to Londonderry are under way.

If successful it could see the hugely popular festival cross the border once again.

Derry made history in 2013 when it became the first location in Northern Ireland to host the cultural extravaganza, with record numbers of people - estimated at more than 450,000 - visiting the city for the event.

While it had been hoped the fleadh would make a return in 2016, the local Comhaltas branch decided to wait until there was a more realistic chance of winning the bid.

Gearoid O hEara from the Derry Comhaltas, who successfully secured the fleadh in 2013, said the timing of a bid for the city was crucial.

He explained: "The competition around the country to host the fleadh is ferocious and some places have been looking to host it for so long there was no point in putting a bid in because we were not going to succeed.

"It was a matter of keeping our powder dry and waiting until an opportunity presented itself and that's what we are doing.

"The bidding process is very competitive and it is a matter of getting it right because it takes years to put the bid together and it is a complicated process.

"The fleadh when it was in Derry was an incredible experience, but it could realistically be three years' time before it returns."

Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion has lent her support to a bid.

She said: "There is no doubt that the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in 2013 was one of the biggest and best events ever held in our city.

"Not only did this hugely successful event celebrate our rich heritage of music and culture and showcase our talent to a global audience, it also brought communities together. It generated tens of millions for the local economy and left a legacy of music and tourism which is still developing.

"I want to see this fantastic event coming back to the city as soon as possible and I will be meeting the local branch of Comhaltas Ceolteoiri Eireann to discuss how we can kick-start the campaign to ensure its return to Derry.

"I'm looking forward to working with Comhaltas to put together an imaginative and creative campaign to make sure that Derry's next Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann is even bigger and better than the last."

Belfast Telegraph

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