Popular rural festival returns to Mayo

Traditional haymakers enjoy the sunshine at Féile na Tuaithe.

Traditional haymakers enjoy the sunshine at Féile na Tuaithe.

Organisers of the Féile na Tuaithe festival, which celebrates rural life, have welcomed its return after a two-year break.

The free festival, which attracted more than 20,000 people to the village of Turlough over two days each summer, had been an annual event until it was cut in 2011 due to funding shortages.

The festival is now being revived in partnership with Mayo County Council and takes place on May 24 and 25.

Tony Candon, manager at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, said the re-launched festival will include a refreshed and updated programme with a more diverse range of exhibitions and attractions than in previous years, including a sizeable craft food exhibition.

“We’re delighted to see the festival returning to Mayo,” he said. “Funding had been cut and we couldn’t afford to keep it going. Rather than let it shrink and shrivel we decided to cut it completely and think about it anew and what we could do with it. Mayo County Council have come onboard to bring it back.”

Féile na Tuaithe is a regional event and is the west of Ireland’s biggest free festival.

“We had been attracting between 20,000 to 25,000 visitors in previous years and we’re hoping to get those numbers back again,” continued Mr Candon. “Once again, it will be a free event.”

Mayo county manager Peter Hynes said the festival should be an important national event.

“We look forward to working with the National Museum of Ireland and all of the other stakeholders to make this a significant success, which will become an annual feature in the national calendar,” he said.

Féile na Tuaith is a celebration of traditional, rural, life. It showcases traditional crafts and skills as well as demonstrating how they continue to be used and adapted in contemporary times.

Exhibitions and events include beekeeping, working dog demonstrations, blacksmithing, wood turning, pottery making, a craft food producers’ area, and family entertainment.

Mr Candon said news of the festival’s return was generating “a very good response” so far.

“It’s back and it is going to be as good, if not better, as it was previously. We’re very happy to be working in co-operation with Mayo County Council.”

 

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