Two adventure orientated events make their way to Westport and Castlebar this weekend - namely The Irish Adventure Film Festival and the Irish Adventurer of the Year Awards.
Following on from last year's success of the Irish Adventure Film Festival, a new event has been added to the weekend's line up - the inaugural Irish Adventurer of the Year Awards.
The Irish Adventurer of the Year Awards takes place in the Ivy Towers (formerly the Welcome Inn ), Castlebar, tonight, Friday, March 29. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are €5. The Irish Adventure Film Festival screens in the W-Cinema from 11am on Saturday, March 30 and on Sunday, March. 31 from 11.30am Tickets range from €15 - €60.
Organisers of the festival, Jarlath McHale and Graham Clarke explained why they wanted to add the Irish Adventurer of the Year Awards to the already popular film festival. Clarke said: "The ethos of the festival is to inspire people to undertake their own adventures. No matter how small. We felt that there was an opportunity to do more with the festival. To celebrate some of the incredible adventures that Irish people go on each year. We wanted to highlight the incredible trips and adventures that Irish people have undertaken - and also inspire others to undertake their own."
Speaking about the 30 nominees for the awards, McHale added: "As this is the first year of the awards, we weren’t sure how much interest there would be from the outdoor community. To be honest we’ve been blown away by the response. There are nominations from Irish mountaineers who have summited K2, kayakers who have paddled the extreme whitewater of the Rondu Gorge on the Indus River, to a Mayo man, Eamon Keaveney who walked 2,000+ km around Ireland for charity...barefoot."
Following on from the awards, the Irish Adventure Film Festival takes place in the W Cinema, Westport. Nearly 20 hours of films will be screened, many of them already award-winning. 157 films were submitted to the festival, from 34 countries.
Elaborating on the selection process, Clarke explained that it took the eight-person film selection committee the winter months to review all the film submissions, saying: "The standard is really high. We had to make some tough calls as to what to screen, and what not to - definitely, one of my least favourite parts of organising the festival."
Another first for this year's event is the attendance of some of the film directors, made possible with the help of Mayo.ie Film directors from Israel, France, UK and Ireland will be in attendance to introduce their films and afterwards answer any questions the audience might have; and of course, to soak up everything Mayo has to offer.