Organisers delighted after 'biggest and best' Fleadh since 1951
This year's Co Down Fleadh, hosted by Ards Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann (CCE), has been hailed the biggest in the county since 1951 with competitors travelling from as far afield as Cyprus.
Thousands of participants, musicians and spectators flooded into Bangor for the 10 day cross community celebration of traditional music, song and dance.
The festival – a combination of numerous events, sessions and concerts – was held at different venues in and around the town, with highlights including the Fleadh Youth Concert on Thursday night – which saw hundreds of young musicians and singers perform to an audience of more than 400.
The successes continued into Saturday at the Fleadh competitions in St Columbanus College. Ards CCE were celebrating as an unprecedented number of its musicians and singers across all age groups qualified for the Ulster Championships.
Despite it being the first year the branch had entered Ceili Bands, successes were seen at Under 12 level as well as among the 15-18 year pupils.
The week-long festival was brough to to a footstomping close with the Ards CCE entertainment group performing their award winning show to an audience of more than 500, followed by a concert from well-known Irish musician Sharon Shannon.
Late night "trad" sessions in Wolsey's and Donegan's bars, featuring musicians from all over Ireland, ended the evening in style.
Hoping to build on the success of this year's festival, the Ards CCE committee are hoping to establish an annual traditional music Festival and a future Ulster Fleadh.
Results: Accompaniment 1st Under 12 Willow Wolsey; 2nd Oliver Havlin. Accompaniment 2nd 12 - 15 Michael Gaffney; 3rd15-18 Colleen McCleery.
Banjo 2nd Under 12 Pearse Farren; 3rd Rory Davey.
Bodhrán 1st Under 12 Shane McLaughlin; 2nd Karrah Smyth.
Button Accordion 2nd Under 12 Caitlin Mitchell.
Céilí Band 2nd Under 12 Aird Uladh.
Concert Flute 2nd 15 - 18 Emma McCleery.
Concertina 2nd 12 - 15 Deirdre McMahon.
Duet 2nd 15 - 18 Colleen & Emma McCleery.
Fiddle 2nd Under 10 Pearse Farren; 3rd Pearse Farren.
Fiddle 3rd Under 10 Rory Davey. Fiddle 3rd Under 12 Josh Owens. Fiddle - Slow Airs 1st Under 12 Pearse Farren. Fiddle - Slow Airs 1st 15 - 18 Hannelie Edgar; 2nd Aoife Byrne.
Grupaí Cheoil 1st Under 12 Aird Uladh;
2nd .Aird Uladh
Harp 1st 15 - 18 Aoife McGinn. Harp - Slow Airs 2nd 1 - 15 Sophie Gilmore.
Mandolin 1st Under 12 Pearse Farren. Mandolin 2nd 15 - 18 Colleen McCleery.
Newly Composed English 3rd 15-18 Colleen McCleery. Newly Composed English 1st Any Age David Lennon.
Singing in English (Men) 2nd OC 18 David Lennon.
Trio 2nd Under 12 Rory Davey, Alisha & Caitlin Turner; 3rd Caitlin Mitchell, Pearse Farren & Anna Harland. Trio 3rd 15 - 18 Aoife Byrne, Emma & Colleen McCleery.
Whistle 2nd Under 10 Ella Davey. Whistle 3rd Under 12 Ella Davey. Whistle 3rd 15 - 18 Colleen McCleery. Whistle - Slow Airs 2nd 15 - 18 Colleen McCleery.