Lambegs drum up an historic first for Cavan’s fleadh
Thousands of visitors attending Ireland’s second largest festival are in for an historic first when Lambeg drummers participate in the parade.
The drums, which are normally associated with Twelfth of July Orange celebrations, will feature at the Fleadh Cheoil in Cavan for the first time.
Organisers have said the move is aimed at strengthening cross-border relations on the 60th anniversary of the event which is expected to entice thousands of musicians and overseas spectators.
In total, some 220 events will take place over 10 days this year with attractions including All-Ireland musical and cultural competitions and events.
The fleadh pageant on Thursday will have a cross-border theme, with Cullybackey Pipe Band leading the parade through the streets of Cavan.
And, during this spectacle, three Lambeg drums — which are among the loudest acoustic instruments in the world — will be on show for all to see and hear.
Event co-ordinator Dermot McMonagle said the instruments were being sent by the Orange Order and the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH).
“This represents a big step towards a cross-cultural celebration,” he said.
“Seeing is believing. You can accept it or reject it, but you can’t say anything until you see it with your own eyes.”
He added: “The fleadh is a cultural event, so why not share cultures? That’s why we invited the Ulster-Scots Agency to take part.”
The Orange Order is sending two of the drums to Cavan, while the third belongs to the AOH in Armagh.
Leading the entertainment will be impromptu traditional musical sessions in pubs and on the streets, as well as many fringe events.
The festival will take place in Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff, which will be opened by the Republic’s Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan.
Among the famous names from the traditional and folk scene to perform in Cavan at the fleadh will be Sharon Shannon and band, Roisín O’Reilly, Maggie Boyle and Susan McKeown.
Bluegrass Legend Tim O’Brien will also participate this year, as well as Frankie Gavin and DeDannan.
The serious end of Fleadh 2011 will then get under way on Saturday when the official All-Ireland competitions start.