Ireland’s trout capital Oughterard is set to celebrate the start of the fishing season with the four day International Mayfly Festival which begins today (Thursday ).
The traditional international angling competition remains the flagship of this festival, but this year the event has been expanded to celebrate all that is special about Oughterard.
In addition to boasting the best fishing in Ireland, the event will highlight golfing, hiking, art and heritage, as well as the village’s “wonderful food and its friendly people”.
Organised by the Discover Oughterard Committee, in collaboration with the Oughterard Anglers’ Association, the festival kicks off this evening with the launch of an art exhibition in the newly-refurbished courthouse, followed by a talk presented by Karl Brady, head of the underwater archaeology unit, on the ancient logboats used on Lough Corrib, and a concert in the Church of Immaculate Conception.
The highlight of Friday’s events is an enchanting evening of reflection and light in the local Shrubbery, while on the sporting front Oughterard Golf Club’s Pro Derek McNamara and an inter-pub soccer competition will be held at The Field, Camp Street. Hessions will host an evening of traditional music and dance.
The junior angling competition, food foraging, golf tournament, and the first Corrib Cup rugby fixture between Oughterard and Dolphin will precede the “Taste of Lough Corrib” food festival on Saturday.
The international angling competition gets under way from the Pier on Sunday morning, in addition to artisan maket stalls, a family fun cycle, and family fun afternoon in The Field, while Rusheen Bay Kayaking will host classes on kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. The evening concludes with a pig-on-spit in the Square and prizegiving. As always, the local pubs will provide musical entertainment throughout the event.
Organising chairperson Niall Walsh says the festival is an opportunity for locals and visitors to enjoy the activities, food, and atmosphere Lough Corrib and Oughterard have to offer.
“There is such a wide range of events, everything including art, heritage, hill walking, sporting events, family fun, photographic exhibitions, food markets, angling for all ages, as well as food foraging and tastings - and the beauty is that most of the events are free,” he says.