Sun Smiles On Roscrea For Munster Fleadh
You are in · RoscreaOnline · Community · Fleadh Cheoil
The town of Roscrea is recovering this week from one of its busiest and most enjoyable weekends ever.
For only the second time in its history the town was privileged to host this years Munster Fleadh Cheoil.
Thousands of people flocked to Roscrea from all over the province of Munster for the festival. The town also enjoyed the presence of visitors from all corners of Ireland and indeed it was very noticeable that last weekend Roscrea also hosted many enthusiastic visitors from overseas. Over one hundred and forty songs were sung by people from all over the world at the Singers Club which took place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night in Phelan's Market House. Tadhg Maher told the Tipperary Star this week that people from Spain, Germany, England and even as far away as Peru sang at the event.
The general feeling around the town of Roscrea is that everyone enjoyed a great weekend. Indeed such is the enthusiasm of all those associated with the event its certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility that one day Roscrea might just perhaps host an All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. Certainly in the immediate future one would hope that the town could build upon the success of last weekend and that the legacy of the Munster Fleadh Cheoil will be a yearly festival that everyone can enjoy and benefit from. Last week will certainly have highlighted what can be achieved when different groups in the town can come together and work together, and no doubt Roscrea will benefit for years to come from hosting this years Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan.
The official launch of the Munster Fleadh took place on Friday evening last in Grant's Hotel. Mr Pat Flanagan welcomed everyone to the launch and before the official speeches commenced, all those in attendance were invited to embark upon a very unique musical tour of the town's historical sites.
Teresa Larkin, Tadhg Maher and Michal Riain provided the entertainment. The first stop was the 12th Century West Gable on Church Street.
Once the crowd had gathered, it was fitting of the occasion that one of the towns greatest historian's, Brendan Carmody would have the honour of been M.C for the evening. After greeting those in attendance and providing us with a brief but nonetheless interesting history of the life of the West Gable, Brendan introduced us to Fr O'Connor, Br Richard, Fr Anthony and Fr Gabriel from Mount St Joseph's who gave a wonderful rendition of one of their favourite hymns. A hush descended on the crowd and for approximately four minutes we all appreciated that we were indeed part of a very special few moments that will be long remembered and talked about in Roscrea.
After some very appropriate words of appreciation from Brendan, we were then given an engrossing history of the 10th century Round Tower. Afterwards we were introduced to Roscrea's Tadhg Maher who treated us all to a wonderful rendition of Slievenamon as Gaelige. Tadhg received rapturous applause and his singing helped stir the hearts even more as we made our way into the new Blackmills Site. Here Brendan Carmody introduced Mary O'Neill OPW and thanked her for allowing the use of the historical sites for the evening. Lorraine Grant then gave us a tour of the site, which is now home to the original High Cross of St Cronan. Once Lorraine had finished we then enjoyed a fantastic double jig by local dancer Lorraine Cafferty who was aided by Catherine Middleton on button accordion.
Once we left the splendour and surrounds of the Blackmills, the group proceeded to Damer House. Again our local musicians led the tour much to the pleasure of not only the invited guests but also the many passers by who had gathered on the street to marvel at the occasion.
Local woman Riona Heffernan greeted us at Damer House. Riona gave everyone a brief taste of the history of Damer House and Roscrea Castle and invited everyone back over the weekend to enjoy the full splendour of the two magnificent buildings.
We were then treated to perhaps the highlight of the evening, an Irish Selection Recital Of Irish Tunes from fifty-seven Junior Members Of Roscrea Comhaltas. The tunes were recited in front of the Castle facing Damer House. The sight was one to behold and one would hope that these junior members will grow up to see many more great evenings like this in Roscrea.
The official opening of the Munster Fleadh 2004 took place at Grants Hotel. MC for the occasion was PRO of the Fleadh Organising Committee Mr Dick Conroy. The first person Dick introduced was Mr Ted Brophy Chairman of Roscrea Comhaltas. Ted welcomed everyone to the opening and said he was delighted and honoured to have been Chairman of the Fleadh Cheoil organising committee. Ted then thanked all the sponsors especially Guinness and in particular he acknowledged the great help and support of Roscrea Credit Union. Ted concluded by wishing all the visitors to the town a pleasant stay in Roscrea and said he hoped that each and every one of them left with pleasant memories of the weekend.
Rory Cunningham Chairman of the Tipperary County Board was next to speak. Rory said it was a privilege to come to Roscrea in his first year as Chairman of the County Board to welcome the Munster Fleadh. Rory congratulated the local branch of Comhaltas for organising a super week of activities in the build up to the competitions that would take place over the weekend. Rory then wished everyone from Roscrea, the visitors to the town, those providing accommodation and all those taking part in competitions every success over the weekend.
Marian Hayes President of Roscrea Chamber Of Commerce congratulated Roscrea Comhaltas for having the courage to undertake the marathon task involved in the hosting of a Munster Fleadh. Marian complimented the wonderful organisational skills and professionalism of the organising committee. Marian said Roscrea should be very proud of what's been achieved and she said she was very confident that all the visitors to the town would have a marvellous experience.
At the offical launch of Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan 2004 were L/R Rory Cunningham, Pat Flanagan, , Senator Labhras O'Murchu, Marian Hayes, Ted Brophy,
An Tousal Tadhg Maolcatha, Cathaoirleach Coiste Fleadh na Mumhan and Dick Conroy
Declan Collier local Guinness Representative said Guinness was delighted to be involved with the Munster Fleadh. He said his company has a long tradition of involvement in cultural events like the Fleadh. Declan complimented all the work and effort that went into organising the event and wished everyone the best of luck for the weekend.
An t-Uas Tadhg Maolcatha, Cathaoirleach Coiste Fleadh na Mumhan said he was delighted that Roscrea was chosen to host the 2004 Fleadh and that an excellent festival was in prospect. Tadhg said it was a privilege and joy to be in Roscrea on such an historic occasion. He said people should appreciate the tremendous amount of hard work needed to organise a Munster Fleadh, and he complimented Roscrea for coming up trumps in this regard. Tadhg thanked the Tipperary County Board for all the support they gave to Roscrea, he thanked all the sponsors and he thanked Roscrea Chamber of Commerce and all the other organisations in the town that helped with preparations for the Fleadh.
Director General of Comhaltas, Senator Labhras O'Murchu was guest speaker on the night. Labhras talked about the general decline in volunteerism but nonetheless was impressed every year by the amount of people willing to give up their time to share their talent and time with the community to help events like the Munster Fleadh become a reality.
Labhras spoke about the struggle with globalisation and political correctness. He spoke elegantly about the strength of the Irish and the role we have to play in foreign affairs. He said the Irish have brought fair play and integrity to the world and that we should continue to strive towards continuing these ideals for generations to come. Labhras said two things in recent times had given him hope for the future of the Irish Language and our cultural identity. The first was the New Language Bill and the second was that the Irish Language has now received official Working Status in Europe.
Labhras concluded by saying he wasn't surprised that Roscrea had done such a fine job in organising the Fleadh Cheoil. He then offered everyone his best wishes for the weekend ahead.
With the formalities of the evening over, the weekend's festivities began in earnest with a set and Cil dance in Grant's Hotel.