Pigs race and people buzz at Ballyheigue Summer Fest '17

The pig-racing in Ballyheigue's GAA grounds
The pig-racing in Ballyheigue's GAA grounds
Caroline,Brian, Laura and Padraig Heaphy from Tralee having a blast at the pig-racing in the GAA grounds on Thursday
Maeve, Mark,Samuel and Livia Fleury making the most of the fine weather on the beach on Saturday

Stephen Fernane

You might think Ballyheigue doesn't need to do all that much to attract visitors given its natural beauty, but the village nonetheless rolled out the mother of all welcomes with the sand only now settling after another brilliant Ballyheigue Summer Fest.

It's how the village kick-starts its summer and when you throw in the excitement of kids' finishing-up school it sure makes for a whirlwind few days in north Kerry's seaside idyll.

The festival featured over 50 events this year, ranging from feisty pig racing, dog shows, swimming, cookery bake-offs, tractor runs, puppet shows, a DJ, outdoor fitness classes and the annual carnival parade which gave locals great pleasure this year as 2016's event had to be cancelled due to poor weather.

Ballyheigue develops an atmosphere all of its own making as locals and tourists embrace everything the weeklong fest has to offer; the musical entertainment in local bars leading to heady nights on the North Kerry coast all week.

"Most of our events allow kids and adults to participate together which is great fun, while this year's Carnival Queen was Emer Ford," said Mick Harkin, co-organiser of Ballyheigue Summer Fest.

"We had over 200 people taking part in some of the events which tells you something of how popular they are.

"The 'slip to shore' swim was also hugely successful with 96 swimmers taking part in the 2km swim. We'll start planning next year's event in about two months' time and we're already looking forward to it. We would also like to thank all the volunteers and local sponsors who made our Summer Fest possible," he added.


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