If you are looking for something to do this bank holiday weekend why not claim your spot along the shoreline to watch the impressive sight of hundreds of racing currachs which will take to the waters for An Tóstal Salthill Festival 2013 which this year celebrates its 60th anniversary.
Showcasing the very best of currach racing along with coastal traditions, customs, music, and dance, An Tóstal Salthill Festival takes place this Sunday, May 5, and promises to be the best yet.
Originally conceived in 1953 by Bord Fáilte, An Tóstal is a major national festival to celebrate Irish customs and traditions making it the original “Gathering”. After a wait of more than 57 years An Tóstal made a welcome return to Salthill in 2011. Since then the festival has been growing yearly and has established itself as one of the most popular events on Galway’s summer calendar.
Boating enthusiasts can enjoy watching the competitive racing of currach crews from across Ireland: Clare, Donegal, Kerry, and Galway being among the counties represented. New entrants from Sligo and Cork are expected this year. Live bilingual commentary will keep spectators informed and entertained as the day unfolds. The famous Galway hookers will once again grace the waters of Galway Bay as the Claddagh Boatmen will present a parade of sail to the crowds on the Salthill Promenade during the day.
An Tóstal Salthill is a family orientated event and those landlubbers among you can enjoy a fierce tug of war competition among local teams, a sandcastle competition for children, and in a new addition this year, a traditional Irish dancing exhibition by local children and a sean nós dancing exhibition. All of these events will take place around Ladies Beach in Salthill where refreshments and a barbecue will sustain the crowds during the day. Live music in the Galway Bay Hotel, overlooking Ladies Beach will entertain revellers long into the night.
According to Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, festival director of the An Tóstal Salthill Festival 2013, this year’s event is not to be missed: “As we mark the 60th anniversary of the first An Tóstal festival, we are delighted to once again celebrate our unique traditions and customs that have lived on strongly for so many years and we are privileged to be able to put them on show to the wider public in what is a truly great day in Salthill.”