Sunday 25 September 2016

Festival revellers damp but unbowed after torrential rain

Published 03/08/2015 | 02:30

Damien and Ellie Mae Alyward with Triona Dooley Cullinane of the WIT School of Science at the Spraoi festival in Waterford
Damien and Ellie Mae Alyward with Triona Dooley Cullinane of the WIT School of Science at the Spraoi festival in Waterford
Ariana Barrett, Aisling Kiely and Edelle Notte at Indiependence in Cork
A group from Belfast celebrate after finishing the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon in Dublin

Gusting winds and torrential showers made life difficult for August bank holiday weekend revellers.

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However, an estimated 500,000 people made the best of the dreary weather at a feast of festivals nationwide.

Tourism chiefs are now predicting that Ireland remains on course for bumper visitor numbers and earnings.

The weakness of the euro against the US dollar and Sterling is being hailed as a late-season godsend for tourism operators, with numbers from both the North American and British markets significantly up on 2014.

However, it was tough going for festival-goers across the country as heavy showers hit the likes of Castlepalooza in Offaly, Indiependence in north Cork and Spraoi in Waterford.

Indiependence confirmed record numbers - but rain on both Saturday and Sunday evening meant coats, wellies and brollies were essential gear.

Kodaline, fresh from their guest appearance at Croke Park with Ed Sheeran, were the closing headliners at the festival that gave them their break more than two years ago.

Meanwhile, the inaugural Beatyard festival at the old Dublin ferry in Dún Laoghaire fared slightly better than its southern rivals in weather terms. Such was the reaction to Beatyard that it is now expected to become an annual feature on the Dún Laoghaire calendar.

But it was Waterford's Spraoi festival which recorded the greatest attendances with an estimated 100,000 fans attending over the three days.

Meanwhile, in the capital, June Alcock (62) was one of the 10,000 participants who braved the wind and rain to cross the finish line of the Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon.

The Swords grandmother-of-four said she was "emotional" as she crossed the finish line, as she was achieving a personal goal.

"I done it, I jogged it all. I found it fantastic," she said.

Met Éireann's forecast of heavy rain proved unerringly accurate, with showers spreading from western areas across most of Ireland by early evening yesterday.

Strong gusts along Atlantic coasts, particularly in western areas, prompted a plea for people to exercise extreme care if walking along exposed areas.

The heaviest rain was recorded in parts of Mayo, Galway and Sligo as well as in Cork and Limerick.

Met Éireann said there would be some relief from the rain today with some bright and sunny spells, particularly along the eastern seaboard.

However, heavy and prolonged showers will develop along the west coast and gradually spread eastwards.

Strong gusts will also develop and a gale warning will be in place for both western and southern coastal areas.

Irish Independent

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