Derry fleadh week 'biggest ever' say organisers

fleadh closing ceremony
fleadh closing ceremony
fleadh closing ceremony
fleadh closing ceremony
fleadh closing ceremony
fleadh closing ceremony
fleadh closing ceremony
fleadh closing ceremony
fleadh closing ceremony
fleadh closing ceremony

The All-Ireland fleadh in Londonderry has been described by organisers as the 'biggest ever' with an estimated 430,000 people flocking to the city for music and dance.

Director General of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Labhrás Ó Múrchu said the festival is likely to return.

Sunday's closing ceremony was changed to ticket-only due the volume of people.

Loyalist and nationalist musicians came together for the closing event.

Labhrás Ó Múrchu said: "We are dealing with one of the best fleadh's in its 62 year history.

"I heard people saying there would have been a very small crowd. You come along and you find the story is completely different.

"This was the biggest fleadh ever. It was the biggest by fifty percent."

Image caption Riverdance world record event

Mr Ó Múrchu added: "With 430,000 happy campers, if we don't do the right thing in the future, we should consider resigning."

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said on Monday that it would fully support a bid to have the event return to the city.

Chief superintendant Stephen Martin said: "It is fantastic to be able to say that after eight days of musical performances and competitions and upwards of 400,000 visitors on the streets this has been one of the most successful events this city has seen."

He said there had been 50 arrests during the week.

"The vast majority of the 50 arrests were for things like disorderly behaviour or indecent behaviour.

"When you consider the number of people that were in the city, that's a very low number of arrests."

Fidget Feet

A world record was broken on Sunday afternoon as around 2,500 people took part in a Riverdance at Ebrington Square.

TV presenter Eamonn Holmes also took part in the routine and tweeted BBC Radio Foyle saying "I had an amazing two days in the Maiden City over the weekend. Happiness everywhere, great atmosphere, dance and music."

Image caption Crowds leaving the bridge after the fleadh closing ceremony

As night fell, the fleadh took to the skies as aerial performance group Fidget Feet entertained thousands with traditional music at the former Ebrington barracks.

President of Londonderry's Chamber of Commerce, Philip Gilliland said: "A huge number of these people have probably never been to Derry before.

"The people in the hospitality side of things have obviously done extremely well.

"We know from the lessons in Cavan that this number of people would have injected somewhere around £40m into the local economy in the last week."

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