As a test run for how they would handle the national extravaganza, Galway City is to host the Connacht Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in July for the first time with up to 10,000 people expected to descend from across the region.
Two years ago, the County Fleadh took place at the NUI Galway campus and it was deemed a massive success given the availability of multiple halls and ample parking within one site.
For the regional finals, some of the competitions will take place also in the Town Hall Theatre, which will be within a reasonable walking distance for competitors.
Already much of the accommodation in the city has been booked up for that weekend – July 8 and 9 – even though it does not clash with any other flagship event during the summer.
Both Fleadh events are being seen as a precursor for Galway hosting the All-Ireland Fleadh for the first time ever in 2020 as a flagship event for the European City of Culture.
The event could result in a €50m boost to the city. In 2013 the jamboree of music, song and dance went north for the first time to Derry City, which staged the biggest event ever held in Comhaltas’ history when 430,000 attended.
The application will be submitted by the Moycullen/ Salthill Knocknacarra branches of Galway Comhaltas, but there is a lot of work to be done before that happens, according to spokeswoman Maura Hynes.
The event costs in the region of €800,000 to stage, and will be dependent on financial support from Galway City and County Councils as well as sponsorship.
The location is decided by votes from the branches at an annual congress meeting.
All eyes will be on the Galway City in July to see how the university copes with the influx of traditional music aficionados, including 2,000 competitors battling it out at over 20 different rooms.
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