Sailing festival gets second wind
Burning giants, stilt walkers and high-heeled sprinters -- not exactly your standard line-up for an Irish festival.
But visitors to the Connemara Gaeltacht village of Carraroe will have them all this weekend in the second instalment of Feile an Doilin, the country's biggest and oldest Galway hooker event.
The first part of the hugely popular festival was staged over the August bank holiday weekend when traditional sailing boats from around the country gathered in the seaside village to celebrate the making and sailing of the ancient western craft.
This weekend's activities have already drawn big crowds to Carraroe with the emphasis firmly on family fun and community involvement.
This evening, Paraid na bhFathach (Parade of the Giants) will feature the capture of the 'giant', who has dominated life on the local Great Man's Bay for centuries. The giant will be captured at sea, brought ashore and marched through the village before being burnt at the stake. The gruesome act will, apparently, make the bay safe for fishermen and pleasure craft for the next 12 months.
Borrowing on an idea which saw women in high heels sprint through Russia's Red Square last July, the festival organisers will stage their own version of the high-heel sprint immediately after the giant's demise.
Festival organiser Ronan Mac Con Iomaire said: "This weekend has more of a fun element to it than a hardcore sailing event. The burning giant and the prospect of a high-heel sprint record have already generated great interest."