Wexford prepares for Fleadh 2024

By Dan Walsh at Wexford County Council monthly meeting

There was a ‘dancing at the crossroads’ atmosphere at last Monday’s monthy meeting of Wexford County Council held at Carricklawn HQ where members were rejoicing at the welcome news that Wexford town has been chosen to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2024. The only missing ingredient was an encore!

Cathaoirleach Cllr George Lawlor predicted that Wexford may be “the biggest and most successful Fleadh in the history of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann” and he thanked the members for their support and backing the rates increase that will assist in financing the ambitious project that Wexford has been chasing for a number of years.

Cllr Jim Moore applauded securing Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann for Wexford and said “great credit is due to many people”. He recalled it was 2015/’16 when the idea was first suggested, and he offered thanks and congratulations to Paddy Berry.

TOM ENRIGHT, CEO Wexford County Council

Cllr Ger Carthy congratulated everybody involved in the bid and the contribution of the chamber “to bankroll one of the biggest cultural events in the world.”

There was support from Cllr Willie Kavanagh and Cllr Jackser Owens who recalled that last time the Fleadh took place in Enniscorthy in 2000. Cllr Davy Hynes welcomed the Fleadh “to our beautiful town.”

Cllr Leonard Kelly admitted that he had never attended the Fleadh, but offered “a big ‘thank you’ to the top table” and looked forward to “showing the rest of Ireland what Wexford has to offer.”

Cllr Cathal Byrne joined in the congratulations and said; “well done to the top table”. He stated that we must welcome visitors and ensure that the Fleadh is a success and described the project as “bold and ambitious” and must exceed beyond the perimeter of the Wexford district.

Mayor of Wexford Cllr Maura Bell, speaking via zoom, said she was delighted by the news. She believed it will be countywide culture and tourism and will showcase the best that Wexford has to offer.

Cllr Jim Codd said he represents one of the most cultural areas in Bannow and added it was an opportunity to “showcase our wares.” He added that the Berrys -Phil, Jim and Paddy – were synonymous with culture.

Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy mentioned the contribution of Paddy Berry and Leo Carthy – former councillor and father of Cllr Ger Carthy.

Chief Executive Officer Tom Enright thanked a long list of people for success at the end of a long number of years’ work, especially craobh Loch Garman CCÉ, director of services Carolyne Godkin and retired John Carley in the early stages, He saw the Fleadh as a great recognition for the life-long contribution of Paddy Berry.

Mr Enright said the Fleadh could not happen without the local authority financial input and stated that there were three aims; (1), repeat visitors; (2), increase Irish music and culture, and, (3); The public realm and putting an infrastructure in place to last beyond the festival.

Mr Enright concluded that securing Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann was “a huge day for Wexford” but added; “In some ways the easy work is done, now the hard work begins and we need 1,000 volunteers.”  

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