Though it hasn’t been possible to hold a Fermanagh Fleadh since 2019 due to Covid restrictions, no less than six of the reigning county champions are still in the running for All-Ireland honours, each in a different competition.
For, with National finals having similarly been ruled out for the past two years, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann has organised ‘FleadhFest’, an alternative virtual competitive structure for solo champions.
This promises to be one of the most interesting and comprehensive cultural responses to COVID-19 nationwide and the Irish diaspora and certain to draw widespread interest among traditional enthusiasts.
A major venture, the initiative also encompassed included involvement of every county, along with branches worldwide, in the creation of a two hour video production showcasing talent and telling their own Comhaltas story.
Since March past, 2019 champions have been competing online, via videos, for one of three final places in each competition, with selected finalists competing in person at FleadhFest in Sligo between 6th – 8th August.
Due to current restrictions and HSE advice on indoor gatherings, all competition venues have been moved outdoors and will operate strictly in accordance with regulations.
Qualification represents a marvellous achievement for the six highly talented young Fermanagh representatives and they will surely have the very best wishes of the county’s Comhaltas members and supporters in their bid to bring home All-Ireland titles.
The representative group comprises the Derrylin CCE trio of former All-Ireland champion, Damien McKenna (Ballad Singing Over 18), Shauneen Maguire (Piano Accordion 15-18) and Niamh Boyle (Lilting 12-15).
They join with Lisnaskea CCE brothers, Conor and Ryan Maguire (Drums Over 18 and 15-18 respectively) and Donagh’s Patrick Tracey (Banjo 15-18) who is a member of Dromore CCE.
Fermanagh Fleadhfest can be accessed from Fermanagh Fleadh PB or all videos can be viewed on the You Tube Comhaltas channel, https://youtu.be/MtFIVRORTKA
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