They’re tuning their fiddles ahead of one of the country’s biggest county fleadh ceoil events this weekend.
Up to 1,000 musicians are set to perform at venues across Macroom in Co Cork on Saturday and Sunday as part of the Cork County Fleadh Ceoil.
Organisers from Aghinagh Comhaltas committee expect an estimated 6,000 visitors, meaning the town in the heart of the Muscraí gaeltacht is in line for a major economic boost.
“Up to 1,000 musicians, singers, story tellers will be competing with a big increase this year in the grupaí cheoil and céilí bands competitions,” said committee secretary Teresa Dennehy.
The Fleadh events began on Tuesday with a session in Murray’s Bar, which included a Ceiliúradh Macroom Oatmeal to acknowledge the importance of the local traditional industry.
It featured tastings of brown breads, cookies, and treats made with Macroom ground flour and oatmeal.
A fashion show as gaeilge took place in the Castle Hotel on Wednesday.
The official launch of the Fleadh will take place in the hotel tomorrow with a special tribute to the memory of Macroom native Con Foley, a well respected fiddle-player and composer.
It will be followed by an Oíche Amhránaíochta, focusing on the rich singing tradition of the Muscraí gaeltacht.
Competitions take place throughout Saturday and Sunday at venues including the Briery Gap Theatre, McEgan College, the GAA club, and the Castle Hotel, with a céilí in Coolcower House Hotel on Saturday.
The winners of the various competitions will go on to compete in the Munster Fleadh, which will be held in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, in July. The All-Ireland Fleadh will take place in Cavan in August.
Impromptu street sessions will take place on street corners, and live music will feature on the gig rig on Sunday afternoon.
Tickets, priced €5, will be available at all competition venues, giving festival-goers access to all the competitions.
The first leg of the Fleadh — the set and céilí competitions — took place in Coachford Hall the week before last.
Macroom hosted the county Fleadh in 2002 and 2008, and the Munster Fleadh in 2005.
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