Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is a “great promotion” for Mullingar according to Mayor John Shaw, who said the event will leave a lasting impression on the town for years to come.
Cllr Shaw said he didn’t hear any criticism of the town last year, from hospitality to events, and hopes for the same again this year.
“The accessibility was fantastic, the car parking was fantastic, everything was done correctly and that’s thanks to an unbelievably hard-working volunteer committee who drove the Fleadh home,” he said.
“Every morning the town was absolutely spotless, it was hard to fathom that so many people had been in the town the night before. It was an amazing week!
“Hopefully people will see Mullingar and greater Westmeath as an attractive destination to visit again, that’s the aim to leave a lasting impression on visitors.”
He added that the Fleadh is also a perfect event for the family:
“I was in town almost every day with my young children, we had an absolute ball. They loved going up and down the streets and hearing music coming from everywhere.
“I must say that Comhaltas [Ceoltóirí Éireann] are also an excellent organisation for children. More and more young people seem to be getting involved in the organisation every year and it’s keeping our culture alive.”
The newly elected Mayor said that although he’s not particularly involved in the traditional Irish music scene, it’s a hugely important event for preserving Irish culture.
“It’s a huge week in the calendar year of traditional Irish music fans. Their passion rubbed off on everybody and there’s certainly a lot more fans of the music in Mullingar and Westmeath than there had been before,” said Cllr Shaw.
“It’s a rich part of our heritage here in Ireland and we’re lucky to have it. Traditional Irish music, like the GAA, is in every corner of this country and it’s something I’m very proud of and love to promote.”
Cllr Shaw said that on a personal note, it’s a huge honour to serve as Mayor when Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann comes to town.
“It’s a great experience for me personally, beginning with the opening ceremony and having the opportunity to meet President Michael D Higgins.”
“We could be waiting another lifetime before the Fleadh comes back to town so I’m very lucky to be in this position and I plan on taking it all in when I’m here.”