50th anniversary of iconic fleadh

Published: 16 May 2014 09:000 comments

This weekend, the border town of Clones will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the “iconic” 1964 Fleadh Cheoil, which reportedly had Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger in attendance. Celebrations will begin this evening at 8pm with a free concert in The Creighton Hotel.

Bob Dylan.

Organisers are working on verifying Bob Dylan's attendance, but he was said to have been in the company of The Clancy Brothers.

Letters show that the famous American pair stayed in a local guest house, where the owner had no idea who they were. Pete Seegar’s book ‘The Incompleat Folksinger’ details his world tour in 1964 and includes details of his visit to Clones.

Maeve Binchy also rented a room for the weekend.

Meanwhile, archival footage of The Dubliners and The Clancy Brothers singing on a packed Fermanagh Street can be seen on Youtube (see below).

Rosslea music teacher Pat McCabe is one of the organisers of this weekend’s event. His father Martin McCabe was secretary of the committee that organised the 1964 Fleadh. The Comhaltas organisation wanted to honour Mr. McCabe senior and contacted the Clones branch asking for ideas. “We suggested an anniversary festival and that’s how it all began,” Pat explains.

Visitors are asked to get in the mood by dressing in sixties gear.

This evening's free concert in The Creighton Hotel will feature Mick Foster (of Foster and Allen), Charlie Lennon (Irish tune composer), Chris Droney (winner of TG4 2014 Lifetime Achievement award), Len Graham (from County Antrim), Brian McGrath (from Fermanagh) and local musicians, including Pat McCabe.

Saturday’s events include a children’s treasure hunt, a musical instruments drop in shop, a singing session with Len Graham, a reminiscence session with 1964 winners, music workshops and a set ceili. Sunday will include a heritage tour of the town and a gig rig on the diamond.

“Clones is full of history and loves its music, arts and culture. This promises to be a fantastic weekend and a great way to honour what was arguably Ireland’s most iconic fleadh,” Pat says.

Take a look at the Clones of 50 years ago HERE:

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