A huge buzz has been generated in Strokestown this week as the town prepares to stage the Fleadh Cheoil Chonnacht 2016.
While the actual provincial final is being held over the course of the next two weekends – June 25/26 and July 2/3 – a festival of events is being run from today (Thursday) to the concluding night on Sunday, July 3rd.
Quizzes, dancing competitions, culture and heritage events and youth sessions: these are some of the array of items on the ‘menu’ over the ten days.
In the competitive events over the two weekends, 4,000 to 5,000 people are set to take part, who will be watched by up to 8,000 spectators.
The Connacht Fleadh was last held in Strokestown in 1986, so staging it for the first time in 30 years has created wonderful excitement.
“Percy French hotel and Westgate House (bed and breakfast), they are all booked out,” Patricia Rogers, the secretary of the Connacht Fleadh committee, said. “Even further outside the town and in Tarmonbarry.
“Every house that is in Strokestown has let their rooms!”
Roscommon County Council has funded the event; local businesses have also provided support; the community have rallied around the event.
“We got sponsorship from all the businesses in the town,” Ms Rogers. “We have had loads of functions and bucket collections and all kinds of things leading up to it – an American tea party, fundraising events.
“It will be nice for the people to get getting something back as well.”