Shauna Dillon, who is one of the team that create the window displays at Fagan's, Mullingar.

Mullingar buzzing ahead of #TheHomecoming

Clodagh McKeon

The fleadh is coming and the excitement around Mullingar is mounting.

The people in the town are pulling together brilliantly to prepare for the festival and everything is looking fresh and clean.

Streets and lanes have been power-washed and buildings are being painted and freshened up.

Businesses are preparing to welcome some of the visitors to their shops, cafes and hotels, and many of them are displaying Fleadh Cheoil logos, colours or memorabilia outside their premises or in their windows.

Umbrella Lane (Meeting House Lane), Mullingar.

The team at Mullingar Chamber of Commerce have also been hard at work.

They have erected colourful umbrellas above Meeting House Lane, off Oliver Plunkett Street and called it, ‘Umbrella Lane’.

The purple and yellow umbrellas create a whimsical walkway for pedestrians and add a burst of colour to the street.

Many locals are already loving the new addition so this instagramable feature will undoubtedly be a hit, and not just during the Fleadh Cheoil.

Aisling Coleman, Mullingar Chamber, office manager, along with David Quirke of Wholesome Kitchen are the Retail Team at the chamber, and the driving force behind the umbrella display.

Aisling said: “We chose those colours because they’re our ‘Love Mullingar’ logo colours.

“The feature isn’t just for the fleadh, it’s a permanent feature although we wanted to get them up ahead of the event for people to see.”

Stores, restaurants and other businesses around the town are preparing for the event too.

Many have decorated their windows with fleadh related items, others have painted their shop fronts to promote the event and most are making their spaces look extra nice for guests.

John McCormack and Amelia Nortje at Galvin for Men, Mullingar.

Galvin for Men on Oliver Plunkett Street have updated their window display to promote the Fleadh Cheoil and Wholesome Kitchen are preparing the outside of their restaurant ahead of the festivities too.

The shop window at Fagans is worth a look at any time, and now it displays items depicting Comhaltas and fleadh history, including photos and instruments from an early fleadh.

Shauna Dillon of Fagans said: “This is my granduncle, Eamonn Doolin, he made this bodhrán for the first fleadh here in Mullingar in 1963. He was only 14 at the time.”

The bodhrán is made from goat skin and remains in good condition. On it are three coins dating from 1944, 1946 and 1949.

Eamonn Doolin in a photo as part of the Fagan's window display.

Shauna and her family are from Milltown Rathconrath, an area with strong Comhaltas connections.

Two family members are also colleagues that work with her on the Fagans window displays – her aunt Breda Ballesty and her cousin Amy Ballesty.

They have put a huge amount of effort into making the fleadh display.

They have musical instruments, previous fleadh photographs and paintings, there are Irish dancing costumes, old fleadh newspaper articles and much more displayed in the window. It is definitely worth a look.

Mary Quirke of Wholesome Kitchen, tending to the fushia bushes (from O'Meara's Garden Pavilion) as she opened up this morning.