Rasharkin tunes up for County Antrim Fleadh

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The County Antrim Fleadh Cheoil will be held in Rasharkin on this weekend, April 26 - 29.

This is a special occasion for the Comhaltas branch in the village as they celebrate their 40th anniversary and the planned events celebrate the legacy of musicians, singers and listeners who have kept the branch going since its formation in January 1978.

Events will start on Thursday, April 26 at Rasharkin Community Centre at 7pm where there will be a healthy “dander” around Rasharkin to visit the village’s historical landmarks, play a few tunes and finish with a cup of tea, music, song and chat.

On Friday, April 27, the opening Fleadh Concert takes place in St Olcan’s Parish Centre at 8pm. Guest artists include Len Graham - Fear a Tí - renowned traditional singer, Rasharkin Comhaltas members - young and not so young, anniversary performance of the “Usnach” ceili band which performed in the senior All Ireland Ceili band competition in 1983, Antonn Mac Gabhann - fiddler player from Cavan/Co Meath, Counties Antrim and Derry Country Fiddlers Association, Maria Mc Gowan’s Clairseacha Alainn and other invited guests - a night not to missed.

On Saturday, April 28, the Fleadh Competitions will be held in St Patrick’s Primary School with a 10.30am

start.

For younger musicians, a Junior Session has been organised to begin at 4pm in St Olcan’s Parish Centre which will be led by County Antrim Youth Officers - an opportunity to join with young musicians from across the County to play some tunes and have some craic.

In the evening a singing session will take place in St Olcan’s Parish Centre at 8pm (admission £3) at which Len Graham will give a short talk on the legendary Joe Holmes as we approach the 40th anniversary of his death. Len’s book on Joe “Here I am amongst you” will be available for purchase.

A little later in Mullaghan’s Lounge at 9pm, local traditional folk band “The Coves” will take to the stage. Admission £5.

On Sunday, April 29, the Fleadh Mass will be in St Mary’s Church 11am and music will be provided by Rasharkin CCE and St Mary’s Senior choir. This will be followed in the afternoon with Fleadh competitions in Marching Bands, Ceili Dancing, Grupaí Cheoil and Ceili Bands in St Olcan’s Parish Centre with a 12 noon start.

A special event will be “The Gathering” at 4.30pm Main Street Rasharkin. This is to commemorate the first Fleadh in Rasharkin in 1979, the branch will re-enact the session which took place outside The Diamond Bar. All musicians welcome - the more the merrier!

The Fleadh programme will conclude with a Folk Group in Sé Óg’s bar on Sunday night. Rasharkin CCE are indebted to all those who have kindly sponsored this event and look forward to an enjoyable weekend of song, music and dance.