The final touches are being made to a most impressive, varied and entertaining line-up of events being announced as part of the 16th Scariff Harbour Festival programme.
The east Clare town will come alive once again over the August Bank Holiday week-end when locals and visitors come in their thousands to celebrate, catch up and enjoy what’s on offer.
Waterways Ireland Marina will be the venue for the Official Opening by former Armagh footballer and print & broadcast sports pundit, Oisin McConville. He will be joined on stage by the CEO of Waterways Ireland, Dawn Livingstone. It is 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement which resulted in the establishment of Waterways Ireland Regional Office in Scariff that went on to become the raison d’etre for Scariff Harbour Festival.
‘As Festival Organisers, we are very cognisant of that connection between Scariff and Northern Ireland with the support of Waterways Ireland,’ said Committee Chairman, Mike Rodgers. ‘It was a happy co-incidence going back to 2003 and we have since enjoyed a highly-productive relationship with the inland navigable waterways body. Not only has it kept our connection with the North alive, but its support has also helped to sustain the festival and maintain continuity,’ he said.
In addition to Opening the Festival, Oisin McConville will also read from his book, The Gambler at Scariff Library and engage with the library audience. Despite huge football success, at club, county and right up to All-Ireland & All-Star levels, his life was marred by a serious gambling addiction. He went on to conquer the debilitating problem and has since become an addiction counsellor.
Topping the entertainment bill is Dancing with Stars winner Jake Carter. Since his weekly appearance in the high-ranking RTE entertainment series, Jake like his older brother Nathan, has become a recognised celebrity across the country. His musical career is on a sharp rise and he has already recorded singles; Trouble, Having a Party and Wild and Free. He will perform in The Square in Scariff on the Friday night of the Bank Holiday week-end.
Harry O’Meara shared the Committee’s delight that Jake Carter has agreed to come to Scariff. ‘We expect a huge interest in Jake Carter following the RTE series and with Bressie, former TV coach on the Voice of Ireland and his band The Blizzards, The Kings of Connaught and The Star of Munster Céilí band, we reckon it’s one of the best musical line-ups we’ve ever had. And it wonderful too to have the Armagh Rhymers back,’ said the founding committee member.
At the heart of the Festival is still the family. Children of all ages will be highly entertained at the Kids Fun Zone at Scariff GAA Park, there’s Fishing for Kids and the Derg Isle Fishing Rodeo, there’s hourly Waterbus Tours on the Scariff River & Lough Derg, there’s kayaking at the Harbour, there’s guided nature, history, scenic and foraging walks, the Game of Three Halves happens at Scariff Rugby Club, there’s the usual busking competition, street arts and crafts, traditional skills workshops and of course one of the highlights of the Festival is the crowning of the Queen of the Waterways on Bank Holiday Sunday evening.
Weather permitting the annual Outdoor Mass will be celebrated at the historic Mass Rock in the spectacular setting on Cappabane Mountain, north of the town. The Festival will however begin on the Thursday evening (Augst 2nd) with a performance at the Church of the Sacred Heart by Louise Morrissey.
Check out the festival Facebook page.