Derry has launched a campaign to host the largest Irish music festival in the world.
The festival, known as Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year and pumps an estimated £30m in the economy of the city where it is staged.
No wonder cities from all over Ireland are competing for the honour.
Derrry’s campaign is to host the festival in 2013. It has the backing of some powerful figures including Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.
They believe that hosting the festival would help Derry establish itself as a major destination for fans of Irish music, dance and culture from all across the world.
The main venue would be Derry’s ultra modern Irish language centre, Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin.
Derry is a beautiful old town that has seen more than its fair share of troubles over the last 40 years.
These troubles were described so brilliantly in the song, The Town I Loved So Well, by Phil Coulter, one of the world’s greatest songwriters and a native of Derry.
Thankfully, those troubles are now part of the past.
We wish Derry well in its campaign. But we have to be even handed and point out that it faces stiff competition from other worthy contenders across Ireland, with Sligo being one of the early runners.
The winner will be announced in June next year. Good luck to all involved and our thanks to them for their passion and enthusiasm in promoting the tradition of Irish music.