Step back in time with the Bonamh Market in Castlebar

After the success of the last two years' Bonamh Market in Castlebar, the organisers are delighted to announce that this year will be a two-day event. The fun starts on the evening of Friday August 19 at 8pm with the Piggy Grand Prix, followed by live music. The market will take place once again in Rush Street. The market is being run in association with Mayo Heritage Week, the 1916 Commemoration, Gnó Mhaigh Eo, and by Craftworks Mayo to showcase the best of Mayo products.

On Friday August 19 at 8pm, following up on last year’s fun, there will be the Bonamh Market Piggy Grand Prix 2016. This is an evening of fun pig racing. It is run like a “race night”, except specially trained pigs will be running, or more like trotting, instead of virtual horses. These races take place all over Ireland during the summer, but only in town for the second time. Pigs are available to buy at €30 each in any of the six pubs on the street. Groups of four and five can chip in to own one, and pick a name and even the jockey’s name. After all the excitement of this evening’s race meeting, there will be music on the street until 11.30pm.

For the last two years the traditional pig market that used to take place in this street every Saturday years ago was revived. In those times, men and women, and sometimes children, would come to Rush Street and sell their pigs, calves, cabbage, etc. This market was very much a part of Castlebar and many great characters passed through there. On Saturday August 20, the traders of the street will relive this part of Castlebar’s past. The characters will be back again with their wares, and the street will be set up like a market. The forge will be there, along with a thatcher, baker, food stalls, etc. There will be musicians playing on bales of hay, dancers dancing, and plenty of fun to make this a great day out for everyone. There will the animals from the the local Pet Farm, bouncy castles, Elvery’s football challenge, and a display of old cars, old tractors, and farm machinery. Gnó Mhaigh Eo will be there with a bilingual puppet show too. This was a great hit in Castlebar recently and is a must-see for all the family.

This year, the event will recognise the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. Re-enactors from Glencorrib will be joining the events with their brilliant float that took first prize at this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade. The street will be decked out in the national colours and to add to the 1916 atmosphere, there will be a 1916 themed fancy dress with a cash prize for the winner.  The organisers are calling on as many people as possible to dress up and get into the spirit of the day. 

Our own Old Mayo columnist, Noel Campbell, who is the author of A History of Castlebar - Municipal Government 1613 - 2014, will give a brief history of the street, and then the Proclamation will be read by the founder of Mayo Peace Park, Michael Feeney MBE, at a flag raising ceremony. The Castlebar Concert Band will be on hand to play the National Anthem and other tunes for the occasion.

There will also be a busking competition during the day with €150 in prizes sponsored by McDermott House Furnishers.  All street performers welcome. CRC FM will be there on the day as usual to broadcast the activities live. If anyone has stories or tales from those days gone by, you can tell them to CRC’s listenership on air.

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