This year’s National Heritage Day, on Wednesday 12th July, as part of the Ballina Salmon Festival, will be bursting with a myriad of family friendly fun and entertainment comprising a varied assortment of old favourites and new acts for all ages to enjoy.
One of the cornerstones of Ballina Salmon Festival, and an original concept, National Heritage Day at Ballina Salmon Festival was developed by the festival committee over 25 years ago and attracts up to 40,000 people to the town every year.
On this very special day, feast your senses on the sights, sounds and smells of a market day 100 years ago, as the past comes to life and the streets are transformed. You’ll have to look twice! From the whistling of steam engines, to the smell of the thresher and the sound of traditional Irish songs, this is an evocative trip back in time on a scale you won’t find anywhere else.
Across three stages and other various locations throughout the town there will be music, dancing and storytelling. Back by popular demand, the Garda Band will fill the air with their spectacular sound from the main stage and the Bofield Ceilí Band will carry on the entertainment with their traditional Irish music session. New musical sounds will be noticeable this year as well, with the Clew Bay Critters and lots more local talent taking to the streets and stages.
Dance displays will be provided throughout the day showcasing both traditional and modern dance, from groups such as the Moffatt School of Irish Dance and Music and Tara Kennedy with – Scoil Rince Uí Chinnéide School of Irish Dance. And if that doesn’t appeal to your senses them maybe a spot of story-telling might while the time away for you.
A fantastic day of craft displays is also in store for everyone attending Heritage Day; the old to reminisce on days gone by and the young to marvel at the skill and dexterity of the rush-crafter, the wood turners and the rope makers. The almost forgotten sound of the blacksmith’s hammer and anvil and the smell of the furnace will fill the air while the soft, grinding of the thresher will transport you to by-gone days. The glass-blower, an uncommon sight today, will captivate all who pass by as the tin-smith exhibits his skills near-by. Wander the streets, soak in the atmosphere, listen to the music and learn about many of these ancient crafts, passed down from generation to generation.
And to pay homage to our celtic heritage, Gnó Mhaigh Eo will be in attendance to encourage the cúpla focal and local sean-nós dancers will enthral with their smooth, rhythmic movement to the sounds of traditional music.
The Heritage Quarter at the Jackie Clarke Collection
The Jackie Clarke Collection on Lower Pearse St. will host the Ballina Heritage Quarter once again, displaying over 6000 years of Irish history and culture. Traditional, old school children’s games, giving everyone the chance to revisit their youth, will be on show. The Collection will also be hosting the Moy Fishery Exhibition along with a social exhibition displaying events and occasions reported by the Western People from 1977 to 1987. From 2pm to 4pm, the beautiful walled heritage garden at the Jackie Clarke will play host as they welcome the return of Jason Deacy and his beautiful Birds of Prey.
Keep an eye out for the special Heritage Day edition of local paper, The Western People, specially produced for this day. And s an addition to the celebration of Heritage, the Road Safety Authority will have their simulator in town to encourage the whole community to consider their own and others safety.
Add to the mix a great selection of food, live music and good old-fashioned fun, and you’ll soon see why this is the biggest day of the year in Ballina.
Don’t just come to watch – become part of Heritage Day!
National Heritage Day is not just a day to come along and witness – it’s an immersive experience, and locals and visitors alike are encouraged to dress up and participate in this exhibition of living history. Everyone is welcome to take part. You can hire a costume from Ballina Costume Company located in the old Parochial Hall on Bury Street – call +353 (0)96 72154 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Why not get into character and join in the fun?
The Garda Band
The Garda Band was established shortly after the establishment of An Garda Síochána. It gave its first public performance on Dun Laoghaire Pier on Easter Monday, 1923. Over the years, a a céilí band, pipe band and dance orchestra were formed from within the ranks. After being disbanded in 1965, it was re-established in 1972 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of An Garda Síochána. Besides providing music for official Garda functions (such as Graduation Ceremonies at the Garda College) the Garda Band undertakes a heavy community-orientated programme each year performing at schools, festivals and sporting events.The Garda Band has travelled to many international events, representing Ireland on a number of occasions at police festivals and concerts in Switzerland, Germany and Northern Ireland.
National Heritage Day is kindly sponsored by McFadden Funfairs and Midwest Radio.