Monday 18 December 2017

Pigs fly for punters as summer revellers enjoy festival fever

Tommy Annesley and Katie Doran walk the animals to the first race of the day at the Pig Derby in Arklow, Co Wicklow, yesterday. Photo: Michael Kelly
Tommy Annesley and Katie Doran walk the animals to the first race of the day at the Pig Derby in Arklow, Co Wicklow, yesterday. Photo: Michael Kelly
A redcoat and a rebel clash at the annual Battle of Vinegar Hill Re-enactment in Enniscorthy yesterday
The crowd at Longitude music festival
Holly Carpenter at Longitude in Dublin
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The bets were down and the stakes were high as punters gathered along Arklow's Main Street to see pigs fly.

Now in its 24th year, the Seabreeze Festival's annual pig race went ahead without a hitch, despite protests from animal rights activists who had labelled the race "cruel".

Yesterday, the pig derby pulled in large crowds.


The pig derby is not the only unusual event in the Seabreeze Festival; a banana eating competition, a waiters' obstacle course and a soap box derby were other festival favourites.

Meanwhile, the bright and blustery weather came as a welcome relief for crowds attending the final day of Longitude in Dublin.

The three-day festival ended on a high with The Chemical Brothers taking to the stage last night.

Over 60,000 music lovers, including rugby player Jamie Heaslip, models Vogue Williams and Holly Carpenter and DJ Jenny Greene, soaked up the atmosphere in Marlay Park.

Singer Hozier, Le Galaxie, Wild Beast, Jungle and Girl Band all performed sets over the weekend.

Decked out in feathered headdresses, floral face paint and Wellington boots, many of the crowd were reluctant to leave the leafy Rathfarnham surroundings.

"We've just had the most unbelievable time," Shannon Colon (18) from Dublin said.

"The definite highlight for us was Hozier - we were all crying by the end of his set on Friday because he was so good."

Over 30,165 metres of electrical cable were laid down in the run-up to the festival, while 420 portaloos were installed.

Meanwhile, in Enniscorthy town Redcoats and rebels went head-to-head for the annual Battle of Vinegar Hill Re-enactment.

Commemorating the 1798 battle, actors in period garb ran about waving duelling pistols and musket volleys in the air. Each year the re-enactment attracts huge crowds to the heritage town.

The Galway International Arts Festival bid adieu to the eye-catching hot air balloon Skywhale. Patricia Piccini's 100ft long and 70ft high balloon attracted much attention.


'Red Rock's' Cathy Belton appeared in Frank McGuinness's 'The Match Box', while comedian Al Porter performed in the Laughter Loft.

In Wexford, organisers of the Wexford Festival Opera put out a call for men and women to act as extras or "supernumeraries" for the upcoming tragic gothic opera Guglielmo Ratcliff.

Meanwhile, acclaimed novelist Judy Blume concluded the last leg of her European tour for her first adult novel 'In the Unlikely Event' in the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire. The author was quizzed by RTE broadcaster and writer Sinead Gleeson in front of a captivated audience.

Irish Independent

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