A few showers and much sunshine welcomed people from all over the country and indeed the world earlier this evening as Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2013 opened in Derry. Making history as the first Fleadh Cheoil in Northern Ireland in its 62 years, the event opened to the cheers of thousands.

Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D. Higgins declared the Fleadh officially open around 6pm and a week of Irish music and song is already in full swing. Higgins welcomed the Fleadh to Derry and encouraged people of all ages to come out and support it during the days ahead. He said ‘Culture is always open. It is never closed’. A week of Irish culture is set to envelop the city over the coming 8 days.

Martin McGuinness addressed the people and praised the City of Derry for its unity and togetherness. McGuinness emphasised that this is the way forward and that we are preparing the future for the next generation. He encouraged all to come out and hear the music and song in all corners of the city during the coming week.

Derry’s own Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney joins uilleann piper Liam O’Flynn this coming Wednesday in the city and Derry’s Cara Dillon will be in town on Thursday! Throughout the week there will be various musical performances and cultural events day and night. It really will be a week to remember.

The sun may shine, the rain may pour, but either way, the people of Derry and beyond will enjoy a week steeped in Irish tradition, music and culture. Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann 2013 is already making history and it’s only just begun!