EVEN storm force winds and lashing rain didn't dampen spirits in Dingle on St Stephen's Day as the town's Wrens maintained a time honoured local tradition in near hurricane conditions.
Flaherty's bar was packed as the Green and Gold Wren prepared to take to the streets at 1 p.m. Young and old came out in force to support the wren including Rita Rohan who, despite being confined to a wheelchair with a leg injury, was still in flying form transforming her mode of transport into a 'blinged-out' green and gold chariot! Lispole native and Socialist TD Joe Higgins was also among the many in the pub to see the wren head out into the howling gale.
Hot on their heels, The Quay Wren who strode proudly up Strand Street; among their ranks was Walking On Cars drummer Evan Hadnett who took time out from his busy gig schedule to take part.
The Goat Street Wren followed and as they made their way back towards the head of the Marina they were greeted with the first onslaught of the storm force winds.
The Sráid Eoin Wren followed suit, battling their way through the town back along the Marina in horrendous conditions as far as The Wood to The Last Cottage where they were greeted with very much appreciated hot toddies.
The Dingle Wrens, along with raising money for local causes, also paid a visit to the West Kerry Community Hospital on Mail Road - a great source of delight for patients and staff alike.
There was huge colour and spectacle on the streets for the duration of the day with a number of smaller wrens also braving the weather. A bunch of 'reindeer', with Santa in tow, delighted many while a group of 'leprechauns' were also the providers of some great tunes in the town's hostelries. Two different groups of 'foxes' also provided some comic relief around town.
A group, wearing biohazard overalls complete with gas-masks, sparked a large degree of curiosity in Paddy Bawn's while a pair of caped crusaders - local artist Darryl Courtney and his son Damian - patrolled the streets dressed as Batman and Bat-Kid.
The music and high jinks continued into the night with Wren's congregating in a number of pubs around town raising the rafters with their tunes as the storm battered the town and its surrounds outside.