WELCOME TO BALLINA SALMON FESTIVAL

One of the largest, family-friendly community-based festivals in the West of Ireland

Ballina Salmon Festival first took place in Ballina in 1964, and was at the time called the ‘Moy Salmon Festival’, based on the fact that Ballina was home to one of the best rivers in Ireland, with the best fishing waters and salmon in the country. This is of course the case to this day!

In time, the festival was renamed the ‘Ballina Salmon Festival’, and today it remains one of the highlights of the summer months in the West of Ireland. Every year over 200,000 people descend on the North Mayo capital to enjoy our fantastic, community-based family-friendly festival.

The Ballina Salmon Festival is particularly proud of its family-centered focus.  One third of the festival’s entire programme is dedicated solely to children.

The action-packed programme also includes old favourites like International Evening, Heritage Day, Mardi Gras and the Fireworks Display, along with river-based events like fishing competitions and raft races. New events are introduced annually to keep the festival fresh and exciting.

SCHEDULE

A Full Schedule Of All The Events This Year

8pm
Lady of the Moy Competition (pre-festival event)

The traditional warm-up to the festival proper, the annual Lady of the Moy competition promises guests a thoroughly entertaining night out, filled with music, glitz and glamour. The role of the winner is to represent Ballina Salmon Festival during festival week, and act as an ambassador for the town of Ballina throughout the following year – a great honour for the winning lady!

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7pm
Junior Literary Awards

Prizegiving Ceremony for the Junior Literary Awards - Ballina Salmon Festival's Creative Writing competition for children aged under 13.

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6pm, Belleek Park
The Eamonn Joyce Memorial Cup - Ireland XI v Poland XI

Watch as Ballina's finest XI (Ireland) take on the Polish XI in the lovely surroundings of Belleek Park! At 30 minutes a side this exhibition game is a festival favourite as our local Ballina and Polish Communities battle it out before the fun of International Evening begins.

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Immerse yourself in the traditions and culture of 12 different countries, each showcasing their own music, dance, costumes and food on the streets of Ballina. Use Ballina’s own local currency to avail of a taste of the country of your choice, and enjoy authentic music, song, dance and street theatre as you wander. Afterwards, proceed to the Military Quarter for a live outdoor concert by Bog O'The Loughs. An unforgettable evening in Ballina!

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11am - 1pm, Ballina Tourist Office (Pearse St)
FREE Historical Walking tour of Ballina

Ballina is a town with a colourful, fascinating history dating back thousands of years. What better way to learn about that history than to embark on a walking tour of Ballina with one of our very own local historians? Carmel Hughes on her fascinating tour will point out landmarks and buildings of historical interest and share some of the fascinating stories of our market town's history. Tours start at 11am sharp and admission is FREE.

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Rinka's mission is to teach children that fitness is fun, and that anyone can do it – regardless of ability! A new addition to the Ballina Salmon Festival Children's Programme, little ones will love this fun fitness workshop with Rinka that will benefit both body and mind!

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This town centre stage will feature daily lunchtime concerts featuring the talented young members of The Core and the various Music Generation Mayo programmes. The stage will also feature young performers from throughout Mayo as The Core aims to provide a platform for young local musicians.

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Fun in the pool for water babies! Age 6-10 years. Admission: FREE. NOTE: All children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult (adult must pay pool admission).

A sports day with lots of fun, games and laughter! Admission: FREE. Children should wear suitable footwear and bring a drink and small snack.

Join us in the gorgeous Nephin Suite of the Great National Hotel for an eclectic evening of song, showcasing Ballina’s proud choral heritage as all our town choirs combine to put on a musical extravaganza. That's over 200 talented performers, singing together in one magnificent performance! Dress for the occasion, sip a glass of wine and savour some local food as our talented choirs as put on an unforgettable musical experience.

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11am - 1pm, Ballina Tourist Office (Pearse St)
FREE Historical Walking tour of Ballina

Ballina is a town with a colourful, fascinating history dating back thousands of years. What better way to learn about that history than to embark on a walking tour of Ballina with one of our very own local historians? Carmel Hughes on her fascinating tour will point out landmarks and buildings of historical interest and share some of the fascinating stories of our market town's history. Tours start at 11am sharp and admission is FREE.

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Learn about the Ballina Salmon Festival in years gone by! Each child attending this creative workshop will walk away with a lovely story about the Ballina Salmon Festival, having created their very own newspaper front page, using images and articles taken from the Jackie Clarke Collection's newspaper collection over the past 53 years.

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This town centre stage will feature daily lunchtime concerts featuring the talented young members of The Core and the various Music Generation Mayo programmes. The stage will also feature young performers from throughout Mayo as The Core aims to provide a platform for young local musicians.

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Learn basic martial arts skills with Harry of Moy Valley Freestyle Martial Arts! Admission: FREE

Join the Ballina Salmon Festival 5k fully timed race, starting from the heart of town, visiting the scenic Quay Village and finishing back on Pearse Street. Proceeds in aid of River Moy Search and Rescue.

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All day
Heritage Day (Main Event), Ballina Town Centre

One of the cornerstones of Ballina Salmon Festival, and an original concept, Heritage Day was developed by the festival committee over 25 years ago. Step back in time 100 years as the past comes alive and the streets transform to a market day from the early 20th century. Ballina hosts the finest of Ireland’s craftsmen and women as they practice time-honoured traditional skills.

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This town centre stage will feature daily lunchtime concerts featuring the talented young members of The Core and the various Music Generation Mayo programmes. The stage will also feature young performers from throughout Mayo as The Core aims to provide a platform for young local musicians.

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The ancient tradition of falconry - hunting with birds of prey - has been handed down through the generations. As part of the Ballina Salmon Festival Heritage Day, Mount Falcon Estate's resident falconer will visit the Community Garden at the Jackie Clarke Collection, where children and adults can meet some of these beautiful birds. This is a rare opportunity not to be missed. Admission: FREE. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

All day 10am - 5pm
Busking Competition, Town Centre

The Ballina Salmon Festival Busking Competition returns this year, kicking off on Thursday and bringing live music to the streets of the town during festival week. Kindly sponsored by Supermac’s, Ballina, the competition is open to solo performers and bands/groups of all ages. All types of music are welcomed as musicians compete for a top prize of €750.

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A fun session at Ireland's largest indoor play centre! Parents and guardians can enjoy a coffee in the adjoining café while the children have a blast. Admission: Free

VISIT TUMBLEJUNGLE.IE

Ballina is a town with a colourful, fascinating history dating back thousands of years. What better way to learn about that history than to embark on a walking tour of Ballina with one of our very own local historians? Carmel Hughes on her fascinating tour will point out landmarks and buildings of historical interest and share some of the fascinating stories of our market town's history. Tours start at 11am sharp and admission is FREE.

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Children will love this clay modelling workshop delivered by local artist Alice Dixon, where they can don their aprons and let their imaginations run riot as they create wonderful clay treasures. The Clay Modelling Workshops for Children at Ballina Salmon Festival are an old festival favourite, and be warned, they book out quickly!

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This town centre stage will feature daily lunchtime concerts featuring the talented young members of The Core and the various Music Generation Mayo programmes. The stage will also feature young performers from throughout Mayo as The Core aims to provide a platform for young local musicians.

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Meet at the Duck Pond in beautiful Belleek Woods to pick up your clues and solve the puzzles. Find all the answers and enjoy some treats along the way! Admission: €2. No booking necessary

Try your hand (and your feet) at Hip Hop, Contemporary, Popping, Locking, Breakdancing and more in this hour-long fun dance session with Ciara! Admission FREE, No booking necessary.

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An evening of the very best of Irish and American country music and entertainment, featuring one of Ireland's finest country acts, Johnny Brady. With sizzling BBQ and rodeo games - a foot-tappingly good night out for country fans!

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All day 10am - 5pm
Busking Competition, Town Centre

Day 2 of The Ballina Salmon Festival Busking Competition, bringing live music to the streets of the Ballina. Kindly sponsored by Supermac’s Ballina, the competition is open to solo performers and bands/groups of all ages. All types of music are welcomed as musicians compete for a top prize of €750.

MORE INFO AND ENTRY DETAILS

Ballina is a town with a colourful, fascinating history dating back thousands of years. What better way to learn about that history than to embark on a walking tour of Ballina with one of our very own local historians? Carmel Hughes on her fascinating tour will point out landmarks and buildings of historical interest and share some of the fascinating stories of our market town's history. Tours start at 11am sharp and admission is FREE.

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Run by local artist Alice Dixon, this two-hour papier-mâché workshop is a great way of encouraging children to get creative. Booking essential.

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Run by North West Fitness Academy, this energetic class teaches basic boxing skills to children over the age of 6. Booking essential.

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This town centre stage will feature daily lunchtime concerts featuring the talented young members of The Core and the various Music Generation Mayo programmes. The stage will also feature young performers from throughout Mayo as The Core aims to provide a platform for young local musicians.

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The inimitable Babcock and Bobbins, juggling supremos, have performed all over Ireland, from Belfast to Ballina and from Coleraine to Cork. Now, they're coming back to Ballina with their super mix of traditional circus, slapstick comedy and circus skills, which included Fire Juggling, Stilt Walking, Rola Bola, Giraffe Unicycle, Fire Breathing and more! This workshop, delivered by circus and juggling supremos, Babcock and Bobbins incorporates a great mix of juggling, circus games and lots and lots of laughs.

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Pick up your clues for the Ballina Salmon Festival Car Treasure Hunt at Rouse's Bar on Pearse Street and take to the roads to find the answers! A Ballina favourite with lots of laughs guaranteed. Visitors, grab your sat nav and join in the fun - and watch out for our hidden treasures along the route.

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The annual Ballina Athletic 10k road race takes place at 7pm. Walkers and runners welcome. Chip timing in operation and a lovely fun evening guaranteed.

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Kick back to an amazing traditional music extravaganza, with the best of Irish traditional dance, ceol agus craic. Featuring performances from North Mayo’s finest award-winning traditional music groups, champion Irish dancers, and lots, lots more.

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Various times from 9:30am
CHILDREN'S EVENT: Music for Little Ones Workshops, Ballina Arts Centre

These wonderful music workshops for the under-4s are a great way to introduce music to young children, as well as for parents who might like to continue the music-making at home too. Activities will include finger plays, bouncing songs, action songs, rhymes, creative movement and instrument playing, all introduced through play and performance.

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Day 3 of The Ballina Salmon Festival Busking Competition, bringing live music to the streets of the Ballina. Kindly sponsored by Supermac’s Ballina, the competition is open to solo performers and bands/groups of all ages. All types of music are welcomed as musicians compete for a top prize of €750. The final takes place in the town centre at 9pm tonight. before the Mardi Gras and Fireworks Display

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The Children's Fishing Competition is one of the festival highlights for children. Come along on the day and compete for prizes for the best catch!

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This town centre stage will feature daily lunchtime concerts featuring the talented young members of The Core and the various Music Generation Mayo programmes. The stage will also feature young performers from throughout Mayo as The Core aims to provide a platform for young local musicians.

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Great tunes, prizes for best fancy dress costumes picked by the Lady of the Moy, best dancer competition and best mammy and daddy dance prize! Goodie bag on departure. Admission: €2. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Give canoeing on our famous River Moy a go with Moy Canoe Club. Meet opposite the Cathedral on Cathedral Road. Wear shorts and t-shirts. Lifejackets supplied. Admission: FREE.

Join up to 25,000 people in Mayo’s biggest street party! Enjoy an incredible explosion of colour, Latin rhythms, street theatre and dance at the electrifying Ballina Salmon Festival Mardi Gras. Round off your night with a magnificent fireworks display over the River Moy, against the background of the iconic St. Muredach’s Cathedral.

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12:00pm
CHILDREN'S EVENT: The Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Tom Ruane Park, Sligo Road

If you go down to the woods today – you’re in for a BIG SURPRISE! Round off an incredible week with one Ballina Salmon Festival’s best-loved children's events in our beautiful Town Park on the banks of the river.

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SPONSORS

Ballina Salmon Festival could not take place without the help of our sponsors and supporters – thank you to everyone who supports our festival!

Location

  • Ballina Tourist Office, Pearse Street, Ballina Co. Mayo, Ireland
  • info@ballinasalmonfestival.ie
  • +353 (0)96 79814
  • 9:30 - 17:30