An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressing the crowd from Gig Rig at the formal opening of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2023 in Mullingar today. Photo: John McCauley

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann welcomes Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to Mullingar

Today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended the opening ceremony of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Mullingar, and launched the week-long celebration of Irish music, dance, song, storytelling and comhrá gaeilge.

The event is organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and is hosted by the local Fleadh Executive Committee with the association of Westmeath County Council.

An Taoiseach was welcomed by the FEC and CCÉ, and gave an address celebrating the victorious return of the fleadh to Mullingar for the second year running.

He said: “Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is a brilliant celebration of Ireland’s deep connection to music and dance, Irish language and community. People have travelled here from across Ireland and further afield, and many others will tune in online around the world.

“Thank you to the superb Fleadh Executive Committee and the brilliant volunteers who make this event possible, and to the incredible performers and competitors who will delight and entertain us over the coming week, nurturing and preserving Irish culture and its legacy.”

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, Fáilte Ireland and the Hidden Heartlands, who promote the variety of things to do for all ages in the heart of Ireland.

With Mullingar at the centre of it all, organisers of the fleadh are encouraging guests to take in some of the sites while in Westmeath for the celebrations.

FEC chairperson Joe Connaire said: “It was always a dream of mine to host the All-Ireland Fleadh in its home town, and we’ve been working on this project since 2016 – the fact that the fleadh has taken place here for two years running has surpassed all of our ambitions for the community.

“Hundreds of thousands who will flock to the county this year, and thousands more will join us online – a testament to how the fleadh has become intrinsic in preserving the legacy of Irish traditional music, dance and culture.“

Highlights this year include:

Martin Hayes, Dervish, Drops of Green, Emmet Cahill, Enda Scahill, Four Men and a Dog, Fuaimlaoi, Kilfenora Céilí Band, Moylurg Ceili Band, Seán Keane, Glenside Céilí Band, Rise the Dust, SEOID and Shaskeen, – with many more to be announced.

The most important events are the 150 competitions, where people from all over the world compete through music, song, dance and Comhrá Gaeilge.

For more information about the concerts or to buy tickets visit

The NMCU Gig Rig has scores of scheduled performances, and there will be casual street sessions and cultural events in venues throughout Mullingar, including Scoil Éigse, a summer school that provides intense tuition, concerts and sessions during the week of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Gearóid Kiernan (9) from Rolestown, County Dublin in Mullingar today. Photos: Andres Poveda
Aine Newman, from Bunbrosna and Grace O’Neill from Mullingar performing on the opening day of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Nathan Reilly (8) from Mullingar.
Vivian (13) , Erin (8), Kathleen (8) along with other music students of local national schools pictured as they prepaired to play for An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Opening Ceremony of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Ollie O’Brien from Rialto, Dublin at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann today.
Mike Dunning performs with his grandson LJ Kelly from Athlone in Mullingar today. Photo by Andres Poveda