The Connacht Fleadh is the intermediary step for competitors hoping to qualify for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann – the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil.
Competitors across a range of instruments first take part in their own County Fleadh. Should they be selected in the first two places (possibly three if recommended) in their county Fleadh, they may then be forwarded to take part in the provincial Fleadh, of which there are 4 – Connacht, Ulster, Leinster and Munster. Competitors from abroad quality through regional fleadhanna in their area.
The participants compete at their Provincial Fleadh and the best two of these musicians/singers/dancers/storytellers, then qualify for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and the honour of competing at the highest level against your peers.
The competitions themselves cater for solo as well as groups of musicians and across a large number of instruments and age groups. There are generally 4 age groups, U12, 12-15, U18 and O18 but a small number of competitions are open to all ages and a few more are just U18 and O18. Instruments range from fiddle and flute to more unusual categories like melodeon and mouth organ. There is also a category for singing and spoken word and several of the instruments competitions also have slow air sections.
All of the information on who is competing at the Connacht Fleadh, and the times and venues are available to view in the Fleadh Clár, which provides this and lots of other information and interesting articles. The Timetables for Competitions are available on the Connacht Fleadh website.
Visit www.connachtfleadh.ie/competitions for details.