independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Ballyheigue festival puts the sun into summer

Ballyheigue emerged into the weekend's brilliant sunshine as a coastal paradise with as summery a summer festival as has been held in the county in many years.

Ballyheigue emerged into the weekend's brilliant sunshine as a coastal paradise with as summery a summer festival as has been held in the county in many years.

With no fewer than 65 events running throughout the weeklong Ballyheigue Summer Festival that runs until Sunday, the programme is likely to see the best festival there in many years thanks to the very timely arrival of that most elusive of summer visitors - the sun.

Organising committee member and county councillor John Brassil said Ballyheigue was delighted with the start to the festival.

"We had an unbelieveable night for the opening night on Friday with 2,000 people down for the pig-racing in a fantastic start to the festival!"

It wasn't all about organising for John, however, as he was among the top contenders in the long puck competition from the Black Rock. John came second in a noble attempt with Christopher James winning outright after a puck-off. The Black Rock is 4kms removed from the lifeguard hut on the beach, making Christopher's return to base in 25 pucks all the more amazing. Kevin O'Mahony and Damian Casey made it back in the same, but lost to Christopher in the puck-off.

Ballyheigue father-and-son Andrew and Sean Thornton were soaking in the atmosphere. "It's mighty altogether!" Andrew said. "It's a real community thing; we all help out and when you get weather like this it's a real bonus!" An avid golfer and all-round sportsman, Sean was loving the sports programme put on for the week. That and the fact that the event attracts so many people to Ballyheigue.

Local lads Fraser Irvine and Seán O'Sullivan, along with Ballyduff friends Thomas O'Connor and Anthony O'Carroll and Causeway man Kevin Slattery were taking it all in outside the Seashell. Looking forward to the concerts and the influx of visitors for the week they were, in the words of Sean, simply 'chilling' on Saturday evening.

Clash of the Clans was the big thing for Mark Stack who was on the prom with his young tractor fan William, and friends Tom and Niamh O'Connor. "My father said we'll have to come out in style for the Clash of the Clans!" Mark laughed. There aren't enough O'Connors yet to make up the numbers but Tom was looking forward to Sunday's King of the Beach run. "I'm definitely going to win it!" he predicted confidently.

"It's just a fantastic festival and there's a great programme for the kids with puppet shows, piles of games on the beach and much more," Niamh said.

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