Successful Slaneyside Fleadh comes to close
by Billy Quirke
SLANEYSIDE was en fete over the weekend when 150,000 people attended what was described by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann personnel as the most successful Fleadh Cheoil ever held.
In Ennsicorthy town, with its reputation for staging great festive occasions, this was the event to beat all.
CCE, the organisation responsible for staging the musical event, said Slaneyside went like clockwork.
Individuals and groups from the UK, Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia, won many titles against native Irish musicians.
The Mardi Gras type carnival atmosphere that prevailed, with impromptu music and dancing in every street, complimented the formal pageants, sessions and cheilí that delighted the record attendance.
For entertainment value, colour and good humour this occasion has rarely been matched, say local folk who participated in Slaneyside in 1967.
Gardaí reported, as they did 32 years ago, that there were no disturbing incidences.
They also said no arrests had been made, despite street revelry that went on long into each morning.
Sundays afternoons main event was a Millennium Pageant which had 300 participants and was enjoyed by tens of thousands of people.
The Millennium Pageant featured the Comhaltas folk orchestra and was concluded with local tenor Anthony Kearns singing Boolavogue.
Chairman of the organising committee, Paddy Berry, said Enniscorthy CCE had set out to make the last Fleadh of the century a real family occasion and the presence of children was most remarkable.
Young people were particularly enthused by the exhibited giant millennium drum and the many side shows made available to them.
Publicans ensured success for themselves by substantially increasing drink prices.
Visitors consider this par for the course but local drinkers were peeved that they were charged extra for losing usual weekend comforts to the thirsty throng.
© The Examiner, 1999