DESPITE the best efforts of the notoriously fickle Irish weather, thousands of people still braved the elements to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Mallow Racing Home for Easter Festival.
While few could argue that the weather didn't have an impact on the number of visitors to Mallow over the five days of the event, festival organisers insisted that the cold and rain did little to dampen the festival spirit. Festival chairperson Mary Kelly pointed out that Mallow was still a vibrant and exciting place to be over the weekend.
"There is no doubt but that Easter is one of the busiest times of the year in Mallow. The streets of the town were buzzing all weekend long, with all the hotels and B&Bs fully booked out," said Mary.
"Local restaurants did a hopping trade and businesses were offering discounts to those coming to Mallow encouraging them to enjoy the festival that little more by snapping up a bargain or two," she added.
One woman who showed she knows all about snapping up a bargain was 23-year-old Fermoy student Christina McDonogh, whose high street-inspired ensemble won her the Best Dressed Female award and a €1,000 voucher for Moda Mallow at the Cork Racecourse on Easter Sunday.
Competition judge, leading Irish fashion guru Brendan Courtney, was suitably impressed with well groomed Killavullen man Colin O'Gorman who won the Best Dressed Male award and a €500 voucher for Barry's Menswear.
Brendan was not the only famous face to be spotted at Cork Racecourse during the festival meet, which saw punters enjoy three days of top class flat, national hunt and point-to-point racing.
"We had some famous faces dropping in over the three days including Munster's Simon Zebo and JP McManus, who flew in by helicopter on Saturday to support one of his horses," said Mary.
"With the charming Brendan Courtney also in attendance, it was an autograph hunter's dream," she added.
A packed programme of events in the town over the weekend did manage to draw crowds out into the cold, with Mallow Castle hosting live music, jugglers and a host of other entertainment.
More than 50 stall holders set up for the Easter Sunday food festival in the town centre, offering a huge variety of treats to tempt those who did venture out in the rain.
Arguably, the most popular event of the weekend was the pre-1940s vintage car run that saw more than 50 vehicles take to the highways and byways of North Cork. "People of all ages came out to see the cars. The owners were delighted with the response they received on their travels," said organiser Jimmy Bohan.