Valentia? It was more like Valencia

Hermitage Green performing at the Valentia King Scallop Festival on Satu
Hermitage Green performing at the Valentia King Scallop Festival on Satu

Cillian Walsh

THE sun shone so brightly on the 2013 Valentia Island King Scallop Festival this weekend that those in attendance felt as though they were in Valencia, Spain and not on the south Kerry Island.

Joanne Cahill, one of the festival organisers, had "no words" to describe the phenomenal weekend.

Large crowds of all ages descended on the south-westerly tip of Europe for the weekend festival for food lovers and craic lovers alike.

The festivities got rolling on Friday night with the gathering of the clans' relay race but officially kicked off on Saturday afternoon.

Local restaurants supplied seven chefs free of charge to the event to cook the scallops. This saw the chefs, three from the Royal Hotel, one from the recently opened Pod Creperie, one from the Knightstown Café, one from the Lighthouse café and one from the Dock Café, all working to feed the hungry visitors from 2pm straight through until the last scallop was served at 7:20pm.

The Valentia Pipe band played through the day kitted out in their heavy gear, despite the sweltering conditions.

Now in its fourth year, the festival had local kids followed by 'Fusion Wave', a jazz band from Dublin, playing on the waterfront stage.

Hermitage Green provided the entertainment on Saturday evening in the marquee and, according to Joanne, the band suited the relaxed theme of the festival, "it was all about people coming down and enjoying themselves. The weekend was really relaxed and Hermitage Green on Saturday evening really helped create that vibe."

Sunday saw the children's 'Aquathon', the U16 triathlon that only included the run and swim, along with a demonstration from the RNLI taking place. Members of the Valentia life boat crew were lifted up into the Shannon-based rescue helicopter from their boat during the 45 minute presentation.

Martin Shanahan, from the RTE series Marty's Mad About Fish, did a cooking demonstration with renowned local chef John Casey in the marquee on Sunday and also helped judge the Mr. King Scallop cook off.

Six "absolute characters" took part in order to gain the crown of Mr. King Scallop 2013. This saw the competitors get an unknown lucky bag of ingredients and the banter ensued.

The weekend was rounded off with the most honourable Pat Curtain of Knightstown wining the crown.


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