Julia Dalton, member of the Fleadh Executive Committee, and chairperson of the volunteers subcommittee. Photo: Gary McGivney

Julia leads thanks to fleadh volunteers

Julia Dalton, a member of the Fleadh Executive Committee, and chairperson of the volunteers subcommittee, led the tributes and thanks to her hundreds of volunteer colleagues at their night out in The Greville Arms Hotel on the Monday after the official end of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2023.

Addressing the crowd of approximately 300 (there were some 1200 volunteers at this year’s Fleadh Cheoil in all), Julia reminded them that without them, the fleadh would not have been possible.

“A lot of them volunteered in 2022 and returned in 2023, which meant we were starting from a strong position,” she told the Westmeath Examiner.

“At times, when we needed extra help, we’d put out the call and they would come running, as they did the previous year, which we really appreciated. We had a WhatsApp group with nearly 500 people, and I made a joke that I was delighted to leave the group the following day, because it was quite hard to manage, as what one person considers a priority is not another person’s priority, but it was really useful, it was a really good communication took for everyone working, especially the street ambassadors.”

Volunteer roles, as well as street ambassadors, included green fleadh, photographers, managing the competitions and venues, and managing the information offices, and the hundreds of people who performed them were coordinated by a team of nine (plus Julia as chairperson).

They were: Colin Watters (deputy chairperson), Nikki Looram, Robert Troy, Joe Gettings, Maree Murphy, Margaret Feery, Liam Aubin and Peter Ormond (of Westmeath Volunteer Centre, affiliated with Westmeath Community Development, who were a huge help during the whole process; they helped to recruit the volunteers and funded the T-shirts through WCD.

Julia thanked all the coordinators and invited them up on stage to share the praise she and her team had received.

Talking of Colin Watters, deputy chairperson on the volunteers subcommittee, Julia said: “He made the mistake of sending me a WhatsApp message two years ago saying ‘if you need any help with the fleadh…’ and that was it then; his life was all over!

“He kept me sane the last two years, only for him and his support, I would have been lost.”

Summarising, Julia said the volunteers “went above and beyond the call of duty, they were the talk of the town – when people were talking about the fleadh, the next words were ‘the volunteers were amazing’, they were at the forefront of people’s minds”.

She made a special mention of the volunteer photographers. “This year we set up a Facebook page to showcase the images the photographers were producing. It’s an amazing legacy piece to have, that we have all those memories documented for the future.”

Una Bourke, James Bourke, Noel Murtagh and Ellie Bourke Murtagh at the volunter night out.
Lily Watters and Nicki Loram at the Greville Arms Hotel.
Margaret Daly, Padraig Keena, Bernie Boland and Colette Glynn.
Catherine Broome from Tyrrellspass and Frances Connolly from Multyfarnham.
Sean O'Toole, Paula Mullen, Roger Nicholson and Mary Healy from Mullingar.
John Clarke from Knocknavalley and Helen Lynam from Rosemount.
Denise Pantrey from Multyfarnham and Aine Burge from Castletown Geoghegan.
Philip Morris and Redmond Burke from Mullingar.
Ray McMahon from Mullingar and Christopher Fox from Multyfarnham.
Annesley Scarff, Andy Clinton and Robert Dospial from Mullingar.
Ciaran O'Meara from Mullngar, Thady Burke from Castlepollard and Rose Higgins from Ballymahon.
Bob Keating, Minister Peter Burke, Gerry Heary and Declan Smith on Monday evening.
Elizabeth and Bolu Bakaroe from Mullingar.
Joe and Aine Caulfield from Ballinafid.
Mary Irwin and Mary Hughes from Mullingar.
Carol O'Flynn, Aisling Boylan and Oliver Campbell last Monday evening
Eugene Murray, Ray Vichery, Harry Holding, Denise Murray, Kaylin Murray and Siobhan Holding.
Geraldine Mulvey from Rathconrath and Debbie Ellis from Ballynagore.
Barry Monaghan and Ben Millett were photographers during the fleadh.
Angela Govern from Oldcastle, Brigid Rooney from Castlepollard, Aoife Murtagh from Ringtown and Paulline Rooney from Clonkill.
Keira Nooney and Sarah Kirwin from Mullingar.
Alice Claffey and Colin Watters from Mullingar.
Frances Coffey from Castlepollard, Deirdre Orme from Crookedwood and Lily Mullen from Castlepollard.
Kim Magee and Helen Henry from the Mullingar Town Band.
Lauren and and Carl McLoughlin from Mullingar entertained the volunteers.
Shadreck Nyoni, Omyeka Lveoh, Mendala Membanga, Yaya Akanbi, Olayinka Sholanke, Bonatenture Asoebo volunteered at the fleadh.
Larry Cooney and Mary Stones from Mullingar.
Siobhan Ruane, Helen Moran, Aine Killalea , Mairead Hughes and Mandy Corroon, Mairead O'Rourke and Antonia Izkoo at the volunteer party
Helena Heduan from Ballynagore and Helena Fox from Mullingar.
Deputy Robert Troy and Aisling Coleman from Mullingar Chamber of Commerce.
Geraldine Carthy Carmel Byrne and Natasha Miskall at the Greville Arms Hotel.
Raymond McCabe and Anne Prendergast from Mullingar.
The fleadh volunteers at their night out in the Greville Arms Hotel.
Breda McHugh (Delvin), Carmel Shaughnessy (Gigginstown), Phyliss O'Malley (Mullingar) and David O'Malley (Mullingar).
Mick Greene, Micheal Gordon and Pat Leavy from Mullingar.