Oyster-eaters do battle!
A TOUCH of French flair was brought to the annual Ballylongford Oyster Festival when French visitor France Royer finished an impressive second in the ladies' oyster swallowing competition on Friday night.
Ms Royer put in a stellar performance at the first time of asking, missing out on the title to reigning champion Michelle Mulvihill by just one oyster. Michelle, a seasoned competitor from Tarbert, took the hotly contested title after swallowing 12 oysters, followed by Ms Royer in second place and Katherine O'Callaghan from Finuge in third, who managed to swallow 10.
In the eagerly anticipated men's competition, local legend PJ Kavanagh retained his title, swallowing down a fantastic 21 oysters. Sean Downey took the silver on 20 and Ivor Falvey taking up the final place on the podium with 19.
This year's festival was also a memorable one for local lady Casey Keane who was named 2014 Oyster Queen. Beating Jordan McDonald and Shannon Fitzell to the title, Casey celebrated her new-found royal status the following day with another victory in the festival wheelbarrow races.
Key to the success of this year's festival, according to organisers, was that it catered for adults and children alike - with some events bringing out the inner child in some of the grown up contestants!
"There was 30 and 40 and 50 year olds and the smiles on their faces were like the smiles they had as children," said committee member Maria Hanrahan O'Neill, who described the festival as another resounding success.
She also appealed to those who enjoyed themselves this year to volunteer their help for next year's festival to make it even better.
"You'd be surprised how much fun it is to actually take part in the organising of the festival," she said.