Mullingar publicans and hoteliers welcome ‘business tsunami’ of Fleadh visitors


Mullingar publicans have experienced a ‘business tsunami’ as the town hosts the first Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann after a two-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

a million traditional music lovers are expected to flock to the city before the festival ends this Sunday.

Fáilte Ireland estimated the value of the event to the local economy at around €30 million, giving the region’s hospitality sector a much-needed boost after two years of restrictions.

Liam Gilleran, chairman of the Westmeath branch of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and owner of Gilleran’s Bar near the town centre, said he was “in great shape” after the first day of festivities.

“The success of the fleadh finally coming to Mullingar is incredible to see, I am very moved,” he said, adding that the economic benefits brought by the fleadh, which opened last weekend, are already enormous. .

“It was just amazing to feel the pulse of the festival. There was a tsunami of business yesterday, I expected it as I’ve been a few fleadhs away – but I think some of my colleagues were caught off guard.

“I’m delighted for all the pubs and hotels and the success they have in their businesses. We here in Ireland have a terrible habit of complaining – it’s a very Irish thing.

There was a big buzz around the place, and we couldn’t keep the fish and chips out of the fryer

“But there is certainly nothing to complain about this week. Westmeath County Council, the Fleadh Committee and the Volunteers should bow down as they are the ones who made this possible.

The Fish Market owner George Stephens said the fleadh “puts Mullingar on the map” and he hopes music fans will return in the future.

“We had a great opening night yesterday,” he said. “There was a lot of excitement around the place, and we couldn’t keep the fish and chips out of the fryer.

“May the business continue over the next two days.

“It’s huge for the city, it puts Mullingar on the map and people see it for what it is. I hope people realize how central we are to everything, and we get a lot recurring business thanks to this.

David Quirke and Denise Buckley, owners of Sugar Plum Sweetery and Wholesome Kitchen restaurant, are also thrilled because business is “non-stop”.


A young bodhran player participates in the Mullingar fleadh. Photo: Adrian Masterson

A young bodhran player participates in the Mullingar fleadh. Photo: Adrian Masterson

“It’s going well, lots of new customers on the first day with tourists and faces we’ve never seen before, which is great, so hopefully people will be kept coming back. That’s from that it’s ultimately about,” David said.

“We expect things to get a lot busier towards the weekend, Friday and Saturday, as long as this continues. There is a very good atmosphere in the city and the atmosphere will continue to improve.

Mullingar Town Park is home to vendors selling everything from honey to toy cars. One such vendor is EJ Smyth of The Flower Smyth who sells handmade, dried flower arrangements to wear as corsages or boutonnieres.

“I’m a florist who usually works with fresh flowers, but decided to go with something more traditional for the fleadh,” she explained.

“It’s my first festival, but I’ve done other festivals. The atmosphere is great and business is good. We expect it to get better, but it’s only the beginning.

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