This talk will discuss the development of the annual Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann
in the 1950s, with particular emphasis on when the Fleadh came to Loughrea, County
Galway in 1955 and the subsequent year 1956, when it was hosted in neighbouring
County Clare, in Ennis. The Fleadh was first established by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
(CCÉ) in 1951, when the inaugural festival was held in Mullingar. That first Fleadh was
the initial action of CCÉ, the nascent music revival organisation, itself as yet unnamed.
Over the course of the 1950s, the annual Fleadh (and the developing structures of
county and provincial Fleadh) became the most important calendar event for the Irish
traditional music community of practice. In the 1950s, Loughrea and Ennis as locations
were key building blocks in Fleadh growth, but were not without tensions which spilled
over into the performance space.  The Fleadh remains central to Irish traditional music
culture, now attracting over half a million people annually, however, it is these early
festivals which created many of the structures and patterns of festivalisation that are
central the contemporary Fleadh model.

Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin (Head of Irish Studies, Centre for Irish Studies, University of
Galway) lectures and researches in the field of Irish music and dance studies. Widely
published, Méabh’s current research projects focus on Irish traditional music revival in
the twentieth century, gender and Irish music, and Irish music in America.

Date: Monday 8 April 2024
Time: 20:00/8pm
Venue: Harbour Hotel, Galway