The organisers of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann are seeking the help of up to 1,400 volunteers.

The week-long traditional Irish music festival will take place in Mullingar later this summer.

The Co Westmeath town was due to host the Fleadh in 2020, but the event was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hosted by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí na Éireann, this year's festival is titled 'The Homecoming', a nod to the beginnings of the group in the town in 1951.

An information open-day for local people was held in Mullingar's Market Square today.

With five months left to plan, organisers are seeking around 1,400 volunteers to help out during the festival from 31 of July to 7 August.

They are also appealing for homeowners in Westmeath and surrounding counties to consider renting out their properties or rooms in their homes to musicians and visitors during the Fleadh.

Local hotels and B&Bs are already filling up quickly for the week of the festival.

Joe Connaire, Fleadh Committee Chairperson, said getting as many volunteers as possible would be a "crucial" part of the success of the event.

He said volunteers would be needed for welcoming people to the town, giving directions, helping out at competition venues and also for the "nitty gritty" of any event like litter picking.

The event attracts an estimated half a million visitors to host towns each year and costs around €1.5 million to run, but is worth an estimated €50 million to the local economy.

It is an opportunity that local businesses and community groups are excited about.

The director of the Mullingar Arts Centre said the benefits of hosting would be "immeasurable".

Seán Lynch said he believes Mullingar is the music capital of Ireland, as it is the hometown to the likes of Joe Dolan, Bressie, Niall Horan and of course, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri na hÉireann.

The Arts Centre itself will be hosting competitions and concerts on each day of the Fleadh.

All 40 rooms at the The Greville Arms Hotel in the town are already fully booked for the week of the Fleadh.

Manager John Cochrane said rooms would never be booked out so far in advance, only for the festival.

He described hosting the event locally as a "dream come true" and said it would be a fantastic boost for business and the area.

Mr Cochrane said the hotel would also be busy feeding the many visitors and musicians during the festival.

Traditional Irish music sessions will be held on the streets of Mullingar during the Fleadh, as well as inside local pubs.

Carole Clarke has been running Clarke's bar for 20 years. It hosts a few trad sessions a week, but Fleadh week will be different.

"Every town in Ireland wants the Fleadh this year after the pandemic," she says.

She said it would be a financial help for the business, but also for the staff, who will benefit from extra shifts.

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