It’s finally here – the day of the Aeríocht.  Seven years wasn’t long passing since the last one.

Well today is going to be a day to remember  – and it gets underway at midday with a meeting of the Laochra in Árus Éamonn Mac Suibhne in Cúil Aodha and the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, is due to arrive around 12.30-12.45pm.    He will then take lunch with na Laochra and other guests.

At 2pm Na Laochra will have a meeting to discuss the impact of Seán Ó Riada, and also, the philosopher, John Moriarty, on our lives.  At 3.30pm, the President will speak about Féile na Laoch and bring the afternoon’s event to a close.

This evening at 7.30pm, we will gather at Árus Éamonn Mac Suibhne in Cúil Aodha to prepare for the parade back to Páirc na Laoch, around 10minutes walk.   All are welcome to come along – bring flags or be prepared to carry a flag in the parade…

The parade will be led by the Cullen Pipe Band and will set off between 8.30-8.45pm.  We are due to arrive in the Field of Heroes/Páirc na Laoch at 9pm where the ‘Swirling of the Waters’, a ritual to remind us of our shared heritage, will take place.  At approximately 9.30pm, as the sun sets, the Aeríocht begins with the poets led by President Higgins, who is, of course, an established poet himself.   Other poets who will feature this evening include Dairena Ní Chinnéide, Betsy Ní Shuibhne of Dámhscoil Mhúscraí Uí Fhloinn, Michael O’Loughlin, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Colm Breathnach…

The remainder of the running order hasn’t been settled yet due to different factors but in short order we will be presented with the story tellers, including Diarmuid Johnson, Liam Weir, Gemma O’Doherty and others, the actors, the dancers.

When the musicans, led by Phil Coulter, take the stage, we will be getting close to the climax of the Aeríocht.  He will be joined on stage by Laoise Kelly, Gerdy Ó Laoghaire and David Syme on the grand piano.

The singers, led by Christy Moore and Glen Hansard, will follow and they will include among their number Mary McCarthy and Judith Mok, Karen Marshalsy and Eoiní and Dainní Maidhcí.

At approximately 6am, as the sun rises over the Sulán, Ceolfhoireann Uí Riada/Ceolfhoireann na Laoch will strike up Mise Éire to welcome in true spectacular style the birthday of Seán Ó Riada, who would have been 87 had he lived.   He lives on, of course, in his music.

After that there will be more events – we will meet our sporting heroes – the likes of Reena Buckey and Tomás Ó Sé and we will pay homage to the horse, Cheltenham winner Butler’s Cabin.  The Aeríocht concludes with a War Pipes Competition with the winner receiving the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal.

Then it’s time to clean up the rubbish that we may have left to ensure the field is left as we found it.

Those attending are advised to dress with less favourable weather in mind than we have had for the majority of the Summer so far.  Also bring midge repellent – they haven’t been out much yet but if they start, they’re like devils.  Chairs can be rented on the night and, also, there will be a bar and a food outlet on site. NO ALCOHOL SHOULD BE BROUGHT ON SITE.