Ulster Fleadh – A Part of Irish Culture

Travelling around Ireland and Northern Ireland means getting introduced to the traditional things associated with the place such as food and music.  Ulster Fleadh is full of traditional Irish music, songs and dance that is transformed into competitions and festivals.

The Fleadh Cheoil is an Irish competition that is run by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri, which is a non-profit group. Irish people give their attention to Fleadh, especially when it comes to this competition which goes through different stages. In Ireland, there are county and provincial competitions leading to the All-Ireland Fleadh.

Ulster Fleadh
Ulster Fleadh

The History of Fleadh

There’s a long history behind the traditional Irish Fleadh which started back in Mullingar, 1951. Following that year, the number of competitors increased that qualifying stages had to be arranged at county and provincial levels. The Fleadh has become a yearly event that is held not only in Ireland but also all over Britain.

There were some goals behind starting the Fleadh, which was to establish standards in  Irish traditional music through competitions. The Fleadh started and was known mainly as a competition. But it was then famous for its concerts, céilíthe (which is a traditional Irish gathering), parades and sessions.

Ulster Fleadh Concert
Ulster Fleadh Concert

The largest Fleadh that ever took place was in 2013 in Derry that attracted 430,000 people. This Fleadh was considered notable because it was the first All-Ireland Fleadh to be staged in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Fleadh 2018 took place from 23rd to the 29th of July in Castlewellan. There were different people taking up roles in this event and one of them, for example, was Newry, Mourne and Down Youth Trad Orchestra, who played in St. Malachy’s church in the town of Castlewellan.

Unmissable Traditional Irish Songs, Dance and Music

We have managed to attend different performances this year throughout Castlewellan, we attended the ceili with the Neily O’Connor band. We went to St. Malachy’s church to attend those school competitions held there. There were also celebrations at Mullholand’s Bar. We visited Mooney Bros’ Lounge, we checked out Savages Bar, we also attended musical performances at The Townhouse. We enjoyed everything related to this competition and music festival held every single year in Northern Ireland.

For the non-Irish visitors who are coming to Northern Ireland during the time of the year in which Fleadh is held, we believe they should make a plan to check these performances and traditions related to the traditional Irish music, songs and dance because they will get to know more about the Irish culture.

Ulster Fleadh Dancing
Ulster Fleadh Dancing

Heritage Traditions

The aim of this event is to keep people in contact with traditional music and also keep the kids well informed and well aware of their heritage traditions. This was actually the main reason behind the creation of Fleadh. It’s a unique opportunity to see some talented Irish musicians, dancers and experience the Irish culture at its best.

Ulster Fleadh
Ulster Fleadh

Have you ever attended the Fleadh in Ireland or Northern Ireland before? What did you enjoy the most from these different performances and competitions here? Share your stories with us!

Also here are some other blog posts that might interest you: The Bodhran Drum’s, Irish Linen Centre and Museum, Irish Dishes, Irish Wedding Traditions.

Also, you may be interested in reading about Danny Boy – One of the top three popular songs in the world. We have its complete history and more for you to explore.


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