Enjoy craic agus ceoil at ‘Float to the Fleadh’

Up to 40 boats are going to travel along the scenic Royal Canal this week with one destination in mind: the fleadh in Mullingar.

The boats will travel across the tranquil waters of the canal, next to the longest greenway in Ireland.

There are planned stops at various locations, where pop-up events will also take place.

As part of the national festival’s packed programme, there will be a special performance from a ‘Band on a Boat’ who will perform traditional Irish music on the water at Mullingar Harbour, Monday – Friday August 7-11 from 4pm each day.

Taking to the water, this group of young musicians will join the festivities of the Fleadh Cheoil and entertain visitors in Mullingar along the Royal Canal Greenway from Mullingar Harbour. The ‘Band on a Boat’ spectacle is part of the annual ‘Float to the Fleadh’

The IWAI’s Offaly branch ran the event in Tullamore when the fleadh was there for three years.

It made a welcome return at last year's fleadh and was a tremendous success, offering members throughout the 32 counties the opportunity of bringing their boats to the fleadh.

Although essentially for members, it should be a fabulous spectacle, and boat occupants usually welcome members of the public to come down to see the boats and say hello. Float to the Fleadh is one of the flagship events this year for the 2020s BC (Big Cruise) – a programme of activities created by the canals branches of the IWAI to increase boat traffic on the Royal and Grand canals and the Barrow navigation.

“We are running Float to the Fleadh for the duration of the week. We will actually start a day or two before the opening day of the fleadh.” said chairperson of the IWAI royal canal branch, Denis M Baker.

“We ran the event last year and it was a huge success. It was really good for the promotion of the canal.”

Denis praised Waterways Ireland for the tremendous work they have done to have the canal in good condition for boat users.

“Waterways Ireland have really pulled out all the stops. They have done a huge amount of reed cutting so that the canal is viable for use in the middle of the summer,” he said.

On August 4 they will arrive into Mullingar Harbour in the heart of the town. The boats will begin to depart on August 13.