One of the biggest and most popular days in the Ballybunion calendar took place this past Monday, to great acclaim from locals and visitors alike.
The day in question, of course, is ‘Pattern Day’, festivities for which would traditionally see thousands pour into the seaside town from all over the country, complementing the masses of holidaymakers already in the North Kerry town.
The traditional Pattern Day from the 1970s may have since been revamped to reflect different times in Ballybunion, but the celebrations held on August 15 – the traditional date for the festival – continue to mirror that communal spirit so obvious in the original iteration.
The town was buzzing from the get-go on Monday morning as the day kicked off with a marching band – made up of musicians all over the age of 60, with the oldest coming in at 86 – making its way through the town to cheers from those gathered.
This was followed up by music from the Junior CEE outside the Hibernian bar before everyone headed on down to Ladies Beach for a jam-packed schedule of entirely free events, including a sandcastle-building competition and a selection of races for all age groups.
Finally, the day was rounded off with music and dancing at the grandstand on the Castle Green, with the music maestro Eddie Lee providing the tunes on the day.
Maggie Hayes – who along with her fellow organising committee members, Ann-Marie Tydings and Bridie Chute, helped to make the day the success it was – spoke to The Kerryman on Monday evening as she reflected on another colourful outing for the popular festival.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” she said.
“We couldn’t have asked for any better. We put a lot of work into this year’s event, and it’s all, definitely, paid off.
“It was just so fantastic to see people out enjoying themselves and life being brought back to the town again after two long years of COVID. It was just an unbelievable day. The stall holders, they were all out in force from as far away as Ballydesmond, and they were absolutely delighted with their day,” she added.
Maggie said that she wants to pay a big thank you to Ann-Marie and Bridie and everyone else for all of their help with this year’s event.