No frontiers as thousands turn out for a global festival of fun
Audiences tuned in on the internet from Macedonia to New Zealand and families flocked in their thousands to picnic and soak up the atmosphere.
From Bedouin traditional folk music to Rio-style carnivals, the Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures celebrated its 10th anniversary in style, with more than 200,000 descending on the seaside town over the weekend.
Despite clashing with the Bray air spectacular a little more than 10km away, thousands thronged Dun Laoghaire again yesterday for the final day of the three-day event with the organisers confident that the festival would contribute more than €10m to the local economy.
Gardai reported no major incidents over the weekend and there wasn't a beer can or bottle in sight as a small army of stewards ensured an alcohol-free zone throughout at the festival site.
However, hundreds of people had to be evacuated from the Pavilion block on Marine Road early yesterday evening as an electrical fire broke out in a ground-floor shop in the building.
A Dublin Fire Brigade spokesman said that because of smoke, the block had to be evacuated but there were no injuries. A festival spokesperson said that a concert planned last night in the Pavilion theatre was going ahead as normal.
This was Sunday afternoon partying at its best as families with young children a big feature of the event while older revellers were entertained by the many stage acts on show.
Despite a hot and crowded journey on the Dart from their home in Raheny on Dublin's northside, the Byrne family along with their two young children were among the thousands to enjoy yesterday's festival's offerings.
"It was very relaxing and the kids had a great time getting their faces painted and enjoying the carnival rides," said Evelyn Byrne, who was there with her husband Mike and young son and daughter.
"What we really liked was that there was no trouble, no one was drinking alcohol and we were all able to have a great time," she said.
Also enjoying the fun were a group of tourists from the north of England who hadn't even realised there was a festival on until they arrived in Dun Laoghaire.
"We were on a day trip and decided to come to Dun Laoghaire but we were delighted when we realised there was a festival on," said one couple from Gateshead in England.
There was food to sample from all corners of the globe while festival-goers keen on shopping were offered everything from woolly hats from Nepal to handmade glass jewellery from Italy.
Stall holder Daisy Zambrano from Ecuador was attending her eighth Dun Laoghaire festival and declared it the best on the circuit.
"I travel around the country to places like Ballinasloe but Dun Laoghaire is the best.
"People are looking to buy crafts which they can identify from a particular country," she said.
Festival manager Olga Buckley said organisers were "over the moon" at the success of the event.
She added that with the help of the gardai, they had "reclaimed" the festival for families.