SHARON Shannon is the headline act at this year's Iúr Cinn Fleadh, which promises to be another stunning event.
Running from September 6-9, residents, visitors and music lovers will enjoy a feast of home-grown, national and international acts in a packed programme of concerts, culture and comedy.
To secure Shannon as the headliner is a serious coup though.
Newry Town Hall will welcome this ace accordion player from County Clare on September 7.
Accompanied by Jim Murray and Jack Maher, Shannon keeps traditional Irish sounds at the core, while framing them with influences from other cultures and genres. Her support act is highly talented Armagh duo Tiarnán and Meabh Smyth.
Launched in the Railway bar last Thursday, which is one of the venues for the Fleadh, amid a quartet of musicians comprising Conor Fegan, Kayley Curtis, Oisin McCann and Arthur Dillon, Mark Murnin, chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said: “It's fantastic to be here. It all falls into our strategy, our corporate plan for the council – that we want to boost tourism.
“And the Fleadh, as we've shown with the Ulster Fleadh in Castlewellan this year, it has been great for the local area and bringing everyone together and getting them in and creating community spirit.
“And with the Irish Fleadh in Drogheda, there were thousands there, so we've just neatly packaged this together into the local area.
“And in Camlough, they're recreating the Ceilidh. So it's all about bringing back the old traditions and everything about it is about bringing people together to socialise, and get away from social media.”
Columba O'Hare, one of the organisers of the Fleadh was also present, and he spoke about his hopes that Iúr Cinn Fleadh can become even bigger.
“Seeing at first hand this past week what established festivals can do for their location – namely the incredible successes of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Drogheda and the Rose of Tralee – made me realise the potential of an idea,” said Columba.
“Neither of these festivals started off with massive numbers – but this year Drogheda saw 500,000 people take to its streets.
“When campaigning group Newry 2020 thought up Iúr Cinn Fleadh in 2014, the idea was to produce a signature festival for the benefit of the city.
“When you’re on the inside, seeing it growing year on year – with more venues wanting to be involved and much more interest from locals and outsiders – you realise the potential of Iúr Cinn Fleadh.
“I’ve no doubt our incredibly diverse and talented organising committee will ensure that potential is fulfilled.”
Meanwhile Justin McNulty MLA, said that he was really looking forward to going along to some of the events.
“It's an expression of our culture, an expression of our Irishness, we have passionate, very skilled musicians here for the launch.
“It's great to see the support from so many of the Newry businesses as well, and from the council. So, it's a real community event. It's just really positive and it's something that should be celebrated and cherished.”
To find out more or purchase tickets for events, check out www.iurcinnfleadh.com. You can also get tickets at Buttercrane Help Desk and Sean Hollywood Arts Centre.