A huge crowd took to the streets of Scariff for the 16th Waterways Ireland Scariff Harbour Festival over the Bank Holiday week-end.
Fine weather encouraged young and old onto the Fair Green on Sunday night as Anna Burke from Whitegate was crowned Queen of the Waterways, while former Armagh footballer Oisin McConville gave one of the most profound talks ever at Scariff Library. A packed Fairgreen watched the Clare v Galway Hurling Replay on a giant screen, to what was to become a much subdued audience.
‘Despite Clare losing the match, festival goers and those who returned home from Thurles on Sunday night got back into Festival mood and overall the week-end was a resounding success,’ said Festival Chairman, Mike Rodgers. ‘People came from near and far to celebrate all that is good in East Clare,’ he said. The Festival Chairman went on to acknowledge Waterways Ireland, the loyal sponsors and the incredible committee whose commitment and dedication make the festival possible each and every year.
The Armagh Rhymers, one of the most celebrated traditional music and theatre ensembles in true rhyming tradition, captivated audiences on the street. They also participated at the Open Air mass at the Mass Rock in Cappabane while taking time out to visit and perform at Raheen Community Hospital. ‘We are especially proud to be able to take a little part of the Festival to the residents at Raheen Hospital this year’ said founding committee member, Harry O’Meara. ‘This is an aspect of the programme that we can perhaps develop in the future,’ he said.
Face-painted children ran freely through the streets, blacksmiths hammered decorative works of art into shape, queues lined for boat tours and riverside adventures, Louise Morrissey packed the local church, the sound of Jake Carter, Bressie and the Blizzards could be heard for miles, the legendary Star of Munster Céilí Band sent set dancers home happy and the folk band the Kings of Connaught closed out another successful Festival.
The Festival was opened on Friday night by Oisin McConville. He attended the Game of Three Halves on Saturday morning at Scariff Rugby Grounds and presented medals to the participants. The concept was first introduced to Scariff by former British & Irish Lions Rugby player, Trevor Ringland when he came to Scariff in 2012. Oisin also addressed a captivated and packed audience at Scariff Library on an earlier gambling addiction, followed by a most engaging question and answer session.
On stage at the Festival Opening was Eanna Rowe, Western Regional Manager with Waterways Ireland and Harry O’Meara of Scariff Harbour Festival Committee.