It is a case of all roads leading to Castlebar over the coming week as three major festivals are combining to bring the streets of the county town alive with music, entertainment, markets, shopping, and leisure.
The triumvirate of festivals is made up of the Heart of Castlebar - a street festival of music, exhibitions, and shopping in the heart of the town; the Connacht Fleadh - the biggest celebration of traditional Irish music and dance in the region; and the International Four Day Walks - a walking festival that attracts visitors from all over the world to Castlebar, putting boots on the highways and byways of the town and the surrounding area for four days.
Greatest celebration of all things trad comes to town
Excitement is building in the county town as it prepares to welcome thousands of musicians and fans of Irish music and dance for Castlebar’s inaugural hosting of the Connacht Fleadh, which kicks off on Monday.
A weeklong programme of events has been organised to mark the biggest provincial celebration of all things trad.
The streets are set to come alive with bodhrans, fiddles, and jigging and reeling with a packed seven-day programme including busking competitions, an outdoor ‘gig rig’, session trails throughout the town, on-street céilís, a street pageant, and intercultural celebrations.
Secretary of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Connacht, Helen Duggan from Knock, said the festival looks set to be “a fleadh to remember”.
Ms Duggan said in excess of 1,000 competitors, their families, and supporters will take part in some 50 categories of the competition.
“There is a huge amount of events planned for the week and I’ve no doubt there will be many thousands of people in the town to enjoy it all,” she said.
Máirtín G Ó Maicín, chairman of Coiste na Fleidhe, said it will be a huge boost to the town “bringing all that is best of the music, song, and dance of Connacht to the halls and streets of Castlebar. It will be a welcome boost to the economic, social, and cultural life of the town.”
For a full list of events visit www.connachtfleadh.ie
HEART OF CASTLEBAR
Festival with heart will see music, heritage, and markets on Castlebar’s streets
One of the biggest events on the festival calendar arrives to the streets of Castlebar next weekend.
The Heart of Castlebar begins on Saturday, bringing music, heritage, children’s events, a food trail, street entertainment, and more, for the fourth annual event.
From 10am on Saturday July 5, Main Street will be pedestrianised and dotted with market stalls while Castle Street (sporting a new ‘roof’ ) will play host to vintage cars and all things heritage.
The Mayo Peace Park committee have put together an historical display, while traditional craftspeople – from weavers and basket-makers to ironmongers – will be giving demonstrations on the street.
Local retailers will be running a range of shopping promotions during the festival.
The gig rig in Hoban’s carpark will be a lively spot on Friday and Saturday night, showcasing top local talent, while the best of Ireland’s traditional musicians will be found in the town’s pubs.
For updates and more information find HeartofCastlebar on Facebook.
International bookings for walking festival hit an all-time high
International and local walking enthusiasts will be descending on Castlebar on July 3 as the 47th annual Four Day International Walking Festival takes to the roads.
International bookings for this year’s festival are at an all-time high, according to organisers, with Japan, Norway, and Denmark leading the charge.
With the ever increasing interest in walking, local participation has increased dramatically also, especially in the last five years.
The festival is an opportunity for overseas vistors and locals alike to mingle, walk and talk, and discover the bogs, rivers, mountains and unspoilt beauty of Castlebar and its surrounds, with kindred spirits.
Non-walkers are also encouraged to drop by in the afternoon to festival headquarters at the Welcome Inn to meet the international visitors.
On Saturday afternoon the hotel will stage a barbecue with entertainment by the Garvey brothers.
This year, young walkers under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
The registration desk will be open at 12 midday on Wednesday, July 2, in the Welcome Inn Hotel.
The festival concludes on Sunday night with the now famous Blister Ball.
For more information, visit www.castlebar4daywalks.com