Many major events across the country have been cancelled this year. However that has not stopped Irish people everywhere from joining in to create virtual and online experiences that have captured the imaginations of young and old alike.
From the #RTEVirtualParade, which was a significant social phenomenon last St Patrick’s Day, to the celebrated #BloomWithRTE initiative and, more recently, the RTÉ-supported #VirtualPrideParde, there has been no shortage of ingenuity, energy and can-do spirit from the public in recreating a whole range of beloved events.
The Comhaltas Fleadh Cheoil na Éireann – the world’s biggest gathering of traditional musicians, and among Ireland’s largest annual gatherings – was due to take place this year in Mullingar, from August 2 to 9. Well, we may not be able to Fleadh like it’s 1999, but this year RTÉ, in partnership with Comhaltas, will channel the epic energy of Irish traditional music at its finest, from the people that play it. At home, on stage, on your favourite landmark (careful now), we’re asking musicians young and old to share their flair using #RTÉFleadhFíorúil or #RTÉVirtualFleadh, and we’ll do the rest. And of course, we asking everyone to maintain social distance and to be mindful of all the Covid-19 advisories.
Kieran Hanrahan, presenter of RTÉ’s renowned Ceilí House, says: “We might not be “going to the Fleadh” this year, so let Comhaltas and RTÉ bring the Fleadh to you. Starting today, we’re calling out to you … musicians, music lovers and Fleadh devotees everywhere – in Ireland and abroad – to show us what you’ve got. We will aim to capture the spirit of the Fleadh as seen on street corners, in bars, on stages – the music of the people, played by the people. Even though we won’t all be gathering in Mullingar, we will gather virtually, and RTÉ will curate and showcase the best of what we get.”
Share your videos and pics on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #RTÉFleadhFíorúil or #RTÉVirtualFleadh. Follow @rte on Twitter and /ExploreRTE on Facebook and Insta next week to watch it all play out.
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music. A non-profit cultural movement with hundreds of local branches around the world, Comhaltas has been working for the cause of Irish music since the middle of the last century (1951 to be precise).
RTÉ is national media partner for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Ceilí House airs on RTÉ Radio 1 on Saturday nights at 9.02pm.