ONE of the most high profile festivals in Irelamd could be coming to Kilkenny.
Millions of euro in revenue will be generated if Fleadh Cheoil na hireann is staged in the city next year. A public meeting to measure support for the iconic event will be held in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel tonight (Wednesday) at 8pm.
It will determine the level of support that exists in the city to make a bid for the lagest traditional irish music gathering of its kind in the world. .
The meeting is being convened by the city branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and will be chaired by County Manager Joe Crockett.
"The Fleadh Cheoil is one of the biggest events in the country, bringing many visitors from home and abroad to the venue and over a protracted period that now stretches to nearly two weeks," Pat Crotty, VFI city chairman said.
"It would be a huge fillip for business of every kind and the bid deserves the support of everyone with any kind of interest in business, in tourism and in Irish culture," he said.
County Manager Joe Crockett feels that Kilkenny city is an ideal venue for the annual gatering which draws hundreds of thousands of people from Ireland and abroad annually.
Mr Crockett said the city has a wide range of facilities to meet all requirements. "It is compact enough to allow people to walk from event to event and the public realm lends itself to the impromptu sessions that are such a feature of the Fleadh. The Local Authorities are delighted to support something that will not only showcase our culture but also our city," he said.
It is hoped that people from all areas of interest will attend the meeting - business interests, community groups, tourism providers and people interested in volunteering their time or skills to support the bid.
According to Noreen O'Neill of the Kilkenny branch of Comhaltas, it is a huge event that requires support from all quarters, including schools prepared to allow their facilities to be used for competition, people with organisational skills to make the events run smoothly and many other issues that must be dealt with in a professional way.
The Mayor of the city, Cllr Martin Brett has asked everyone involved in the hospitality industry in Kilkenny to get behind the bid. "This is a major opportunity for us and we should all support the vintners who are spearheading a campaign that copuld provide our city and evirons with a major boost in these challenging economic times," Mayor Brett said.
"The initial bid must be with the Provincial Council by the end of February so the work must begin immediately. Other venues interested in hosting the Fleadh in 2012 include Ennis and Sligo," Mr Crotty, a former Mayor of the city said.