25th July 2017

Dancer extraordinaire, Michael Flatley will perform the official opening of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis next month. On Sunday August 13th, the man who revolutionised Irish dancing across the world, will take to the Fly Shannon stage in Abbey Street Car-Park. He will briefly address the assembled gathering and play the flute with uilleann piper and composer, Gerard Fahy, from Ballinakill, Co. Galway, who has toured extensively with Michael and his Lord of the Dance troupe and is composer of Michael's recent hit show, Dangerous Games.

An accomplished dancer, flautist, actor, director and producer, Michael Flatley first stepped onto the world stage in 1994 when he created Riverdance, a dance performance that caught the attention of millions around the world. Over the past two decades he has created, directed, produced and starred in several other successful shows including Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames, Celtic Tiger and his latest show Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, which he took to London’s West End and Broadway.

‘It’s a great honour to be asked to open this year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis. It is such a great home of traditional music and a place I have very fond memories of including winning the All-Ireland there many years ago. It is vitally important for all of us to nurture young talent and to encourage young people today to play Irish music. I’m really looking forward to it and am sure it will be a huge success,’ said Michael Flatley.

Frank Whelan, added that the Fleadh Executive Committee was hugely indebted and greatly privileged that Michael Flatley had accepted its invitation to open this year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. ‘The fact that the best-known figure in the world of Irish dancing over many decades is taking the time out of his busy schedule to come to join us for the opening on Sunday 13th August is no doubt going to make the occasion truly special,’ said the Committee Chairman.

Over the past 20 years Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance show has broken box office records all over the world. In 1998 the show had a record breaking run of 21 consecutive sold-out shows at London’s legendary Wembley Arena. It is a record that still stands to this day. Worldwide video sales are in excess of 12 million copies. He has taken his shows to football stadia in Europe and Asia, performing live to audiences of 120,000.Lord of the Dancewas captured in ground breaking 3D at the O2 arenas in Dublin, London, and Berlin and was released in theatres across Europe and the US in 2011.

Chicago born, Michael Flatley became the first American to win the World Championship in Irish Dancing at the age of 17. He toured with the Chieftains in the 1980s during which time he developed and refined his style that was to become his trademark. The seven-minute intermission performance during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest was to change Irish dancing as we knew it forever. He broke the mould by using upper body movement and created edgy rhythm patterns that departed from the traditional style.

After a final stage performance at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas in 2016, Michael has turned his focus full-time to his other passions.He is a contemporary artist and his works of abstract expressionism have been lauded by critics as “striking”. In 2015 his paintings officially became the highest valued artworks sold at auction in Ireland for that year.His other lifelong creative passion is filmmaking. Michael has written, directed and starred in two short films and his next project is a feature length film currently in production.




21th April 2017

One of the great story tellers, gifted and prolific songwriters, Ralph McTell will team up with Lúnasa, one of the finest traditional music outfits, to mark their 20th Anniversary celebrations during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in August. The concert, appropriately named ‘From Clare to Here’ will also feature the legendary Máirtín O’Connor Trio with an ability to ignite audiences and bring people to their feet.

According to Frank Whelan, Chairman of the Fleadh Executive Committee, this is a first-class line-up and can only provide a special evening on the 17th August in the Shannon Aerodome. ‘This has all the hallmarks of a most memorable night and one not to be missed,’ said a delighted Frank Whelan. ‘It is very good timing and we are extremely fortunate that all three segments of this concert performance can come together in Ennis for what can only be described as a one-off event.’ he said.

The Streets of London and From Clare to Here are the songs we most associate with Ralph McTell, whose career has spanned over 50 years across the acoustic and folk music scene in the UK and well beyond. Known especially for his guitar playing, modelled on the country blues playing of the USA, he took the name McTell from a famous American ragtime singer and slide guitarist, Blind Willie McTell to whom Bob Dylan also paid tribute in song.

Winner of an Ivor Novello Award, that celebrates, honours and rewards excellence in British, and Irish songwriting and composing, Ralph McTell has had sell-out concerts at the Royal Festival and Royal Albert Halls in London. In 1993 Nanci Griffith recorded ‘From Clare to Here’ on her Grammy Award-winning album. Interested in East African politics, he spoke Swahili and later completed a BBC commissioned project ‘The Boy with a Note’ an invocation of the life of poet, Dylan Thomas. To mark 50 years as a recording artist, the world-famous Martin Guitars created a ‘signature’ Ralph McTell guitar.

Also known across the world, Lúnasa is a coming together of eclectic musicians who cut their teeth with other well-known bands and now have their own unique blend and sound.  Champion fiddle player, Seán Smyth, Kevin Crawford with strong Clare links on flute, Cillian Vallely on pipes and Paul Meehan on guitar, they have sold over a quarter of a million albums to date. ‘Lúnasa is internationally recognised for their amazing performances and inventive arrangements and will transport the Fleadh Dome audience to another level,’ said Pádraic O’Reilly, who is Co-ordinator of the Concert performances at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

Supported by three legendary artists, Máirtín O’Connor, Cathal Hayden and Seamie O’Dowd who go to make up the Máirtín O’Connor Trio, their electrifying performances should be a rousing addition to the night.

(Tickets at €25 for Lúnasa, Ralph McTell & Máirtín O’Connor Trio from Glór, Ennis, Co. Clare www.glor.ie. Concert will be performed at Shannon Aerodome, Ennis on Thursday 17th August 2017. See also www.fleadhcheoil.ie).


Further Contact
Frank Whelan, Chairman of The Fleadh Executive Committee  086-8260300
Anne Jones, Media Publicity 087 2204645

14th April 2017

The Abbey Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ennis has lodged the formal event licence application for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2017 with the planning authority of Clare County Council. The event which will take place in Ennis from the 13th-21st August is the largest Irish traditional music event in the country and beyond. As for similar major concerts and large scale events, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is subject to licencing provisions and ensuring compliance is a primary focus of the organising committee.

‘Safety for all is of utmost concern in organising an event of this scale,’ said Frank Whelan, Chairman of the Fleadh Executive Committee. It is essential that the event is planned and implemented to the highest standards and in the safest possible manner. Following on from last year’s experience, the complexities of organising such an event are very clear to us. Our aim is to continue to provide a safe and well-ordered environment for visitors, the people of Ennis, our volunteers and all involved. We will continue to be guided by relevant legislation, codes of practice and best event management practice,’ he said.

In addition to its core function of hosting competitions, the Fleadh has a significant range of indoor and outdoor music and cultural performances. This involves the provision of two large domes with a combined seating capacity of 3,500 in Tim Smyth Park and at New Road over the 9-day festival. Temporary campervan and campsite facilities for Fleadh goers will be provided at a campsite in Clarecastle. The Gig-Rig will be located in the Abbey Street car-park while Fleadh TV will broadcast this year from the Market area of the town.

A detailed traffic management plan outlining parking restrictions and street closures and temporary additional off-street parking will form part of the application content together with a stewarding plan backed by the support of huge numbers of volunteers. The Clare Volunteer Centre will be engaging with and encouraging the local community to get involved in supporting the organisation of this major community event in August.

In accordance with Regulations the application will be available for inspection in the Planning Offices of Clare County Council during normal office hours. Any submissions in relation to the application must be made within 3 weeks of date of receipt (up to and including Tuesday 2nd May 2017).


Further Contact
Frank Whelan, Chairman of the Fleadh Executive Committee 086-8260300
Anne Jones, Media Publicity 087 2204645

10th March 2017

Thousands of people are expected to line the streets of the Clare County Capital next Friday (March 17th) for the 2017 Ennis St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The theme for this year’s Parade is ‘Ennis – A Multicultural Town’, which Clare County Council says provides participating groups, organisations, bands, schools and individuals a broad scope within which they can reflect the various cultures in their float or group activity.

Clare County Council is once again seeking to make the Ennis Parade a countywide affair with artistic, cultural and sporting groups together with schools, scouts and a range of community groups from all over Clare taking part.  In excess of 10,000 people lined the streets of town during last year’s parade, which featured 50 groups representing the many aspects of life in Ennis and County Clare.

Once again, there will be an overall prize of €400 for the ‘Best Group or Float’ while all parade participants will be included in an open draw for one of four prizes of €150 each.   Among the international visitors to Ennis for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade are groups from Langenfeld (Ennis’ German twinning partner), Russia and the UK.

This year’s parade commences at 11.00am from Clare County Council’s Headquarters at Áras Contae an Chláir before proceeding via New Road, Newbridge Road, Club Bridge, Abbey Street, O’Connell Square, O’Connell Street, with participants finishing in the grounds of the Holy Family School, Station Road.  Following the Parade, the local Nigerian Society will host a showcase of Nigerian food, music and dance in Abbey Street Carpark.

The reviewing stand this year changes from The Height, O Connell St, to the end point of the parade at Ennis Cathedral in an effort to enhance the spectator experience by ensuring a continuous flow to the parade.

Two designated viewing areas are being made available again this year to enhance the spectators’ experience. There will be a large designated viewing area along Newbridge road between Club Bridge and Steele’s Terrace. This viewing area will afford perfect views of the parade and participants with the river and Club Bridge in the background. The location is in close proximity to the Stage at Steele’s Terrace where live traditional music will be performed from around 10am. The designated Disabled parking area is located at Ennis Courthouse, Lifford Road.

A Designated Disabled Viewing Area also will be established in O’Connell Square for disabled spectators for the duration of the parade. Spaces will be limited so spectators wishing to avail of this facility should arrive early. Disabled parking will be available nearby in the Council’s car park at Friars Walk, Ennis.

Special traffic management arrangements will be in place from 8.00am. Diversions will be in place and pedestrian access will be available. The roads being closed on a rolling basis include Steele’s Terrace / Newbridge Rd (from Kelly’s Corner roundabout to the Club Bridge), New Rd from its junction with Tulla Rd to Newbridge Rd, College Rd (local access only), Mill Rd in an easterly direction from the Maid of Erin Roundabout to its junction with Bindon St, Harmony Row, Abbey St, Francis St from Francis St Car Park to Abbey St, O’Connell Sq, O’Connell St, Upper O’Connell St, Old Barrack St and Station Rd from its junction with O’Connell St to its junction with Friar’s Walk.

Mayor of Ennis Cllr. Ann Norton is the Parade Grand Marshall for 2017 and will lead the Parade in a horse drawn carriage.

“The Parade offers an opportunity to the people of Ennis and Clare to celebrate our multicultural community and how all of our lives have been enriched by the contributions of people from differing backgrounds, cultures and traditions. I look forward to joining the celebrations on the day,” said Mayor Norton.

All relevant details about the traffic management plan on St. Patrick’s Day are published on the Clare County Council website (www.clarecoco.ie), on the parade Facebook Page (ennisparade) and on Twitter (@ennisparade) using the ennisparade hashtag (#ennisparade). Details can also be found on the Visit Ennis website (www.visitennis.ie) and through local media outlets.


28th February 2017

A sell-out performance by accordion virtuoso, Sharon Shannon is expected at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2017. She will perform with her band, on Saturday 19th August at the Shannon Aerodome in Ennis to the delight, not only of her home audience, but to Fleadh goers from all over Ireland and across the world. Sharon will perform music from her back catalogue but will showcase music from her new album Sacred Earth to be released on March 17th.The Kilfenora Céilí Band will return with another exhilarating performance at the same venue on Wednesday 16th August.

‘I am really thrilled and excited to be playing at the Fleadh this year,’ said a smiling Sharon. ‘This is where I was born and reared and performing at the Fleadh in Ennis is something very special and a great honour.’ she added.
From Ruan, just outside Ennis, Sharon is not only a most accomplished and unique accordion player but she also plays a range of instruments from tin whistle to fiddle and melodeon. It’s the ease with which she plays, the energy she generates and the joy that she brings that makes her performance so distinctive.

Press Office Team

Anne Jones
+ 353 87 220 4645

Claire Gallagher
+ 353 87 674 9195

Ciana Campbell

+ 353 87 681 5635