Culture and chips on menu as festival season kicks off
WITH the bank holiday weather even better than promised, the Irish summer kicked off with a bang as hundreds of thousands flocked to festivals around the country.
Sunshine, music, food and family fun combined to make a special kind of magic as the nation went on holiday.
In Limerick, the somewhat unlikely combination of chips and culture proved to be highly digestible as the first World Chip Championships got under way, with an open contest for all cooks, with 'Masterchef' judge Nick Munier on the judging panel.
Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, was rocking to the beat of the Rory Gallagher festival, with Eric Bell – former Thin Lizzy guitarist – and his band playing the big top alongside many others, including the Pat McManus band and many international acts.
In Killorglin, Co Kerry, the KFest Arts Festival was celebrating its 12th year, with artwork cropping up in the most unexpected places – like the train that was magicked on to the railway bridge for the first time in 54 years.
Among the highlights were a public portrait gallery of the people of Killorglin, live art workshops and lively street performances.
With Irish comedy hot property at the moment, it was only fair that the funnymen in green beat the rest of the world in a football match that was very serious indeed.
If Martin O'Neill is looking for strikers, Neil Delamere and Tommy Tiernan could well deliver the goods, having scored the only goals in the match amid dramatic tackles and a couple of pulled calf muscles.
More than 30,000 turned out in Kilkenny for the Sky Cat Laughs festival, which celebrated its 20th birthday in true style.
One of the highlights of the festival was the three-and-a-half-hour birthday party for the festival, which saw three-and-a-half hours of stand-up comedy gold from the likes of Dara O Briain, Tommy Tiernan and George Wendt, otherwise known as Norm from 'Cheers'.
Another major hit was a special advance screening of '50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy' – a new show which will be part of Sky's autumn schedule.
Meanwhile, in a sad lament for the landmark Oisin Cinema – which opened in 1936 and shut its doors in 1999 – nightly projections of 'Three Smart Girls', the first film shown there, played on the exterior cinema walls.
In Dublin, the Forbidden Fruit festival in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham was the weekend's hottest music ticket, with The Flaming Lips, Bell X-1 and Flying Lotus just some of the 40 acts that performed on four stages over the course of the two days.
Inflatable aliens, moving stages and energetic frontman Wayne Coyne wowed during the Flaming Lips show, with a great cover of David Bowie's 'Heroes' with Kevin Shields on guitar.
In Galway, the first Galway Hooker Festival saw the spectacular vista of the russet-sailed boats take to the water under blue skies.
Racing took place on Saturday with a sail to the Claddagh afterwards. Events included a Silent Disco on Sunday.
The hookers and Gleoiteogs will be back on Galway Bay for the Kinvara Cruinniu na nBad in August.
Queens of the Road Patricia O'Donoghue, Fiona Carroll and Eilish Coffey from Killarney were among those who geared up for Ireland Bike Fest, which took to the streets of Killarney for the eighth year. A total of 40,000 bikers and biking enthusiasts roared into the town.
"Women are taking to the roads in record numbers as motorcycle riders," said Ms O'Donoghue.