THIS week's official Gathering celebrations got off to a blistering start in Abbeyfeale on Monday night when over 180 'nuns' lined the streets for the much anticipated Nuns Race through the town.
Men, women and children decked out in back and white habits gathered from about 6.30pm onwards, with 187 'nuns' officially taking part in the three quarter mile fun run to the Square.
Hundreds of onlookers lined both sides of the street, vying for a prime sport to catch the action, and were certainly surprised when retired Mercy Order nuns Sr Delia and Sr Perpetua joined in the fun, getting the race underway in a horse drawn cart.
Local man Joseph Flaherty was first home, and for his efforts had the honour of leading the nuns in an hilarious 'Harlem Shake' in the Square once everyone had a chance to catch their breath. While the event wasn't an official record breaking attempt, organiser Shane O'Connor of Feale Fit said the previous record for wannabe nuns doing the Harlem Shake was only about 20, so the fun loving Abbeyfeale folk 'smashed it'.
Monday night's holy antics were only the start of a week long programme of events to celebrate this year's Gathering in Abbeyfeale, which continue until this Sunday, July 21.
Other events planned as part of the line-up include a Battle of the Parishes football tournament, a of traditional music and song, Sheaf Tossing & Tug-O-War championships, farmers markets, and a school reunion at Mrs Woulfe's Old School, where organisers hope to bring together the past pupils of the four secondary schools in Abbeyfeale.
A list of events, times and locations is available from www.abbeyfealeonline.ie or on the official Gathering-Abbeyfeale facebook page.