Fun with the River Moy Trust during Ballina Salmon Festival 2018

Local agencies, private business and locals come together to give children a wonderful fishy experience!

A very successful event led by the River Moy Trust was held on Tuesday 10th July as part of the Ballina Salmon Festival.  The event, promoted by the River Moy Trust and supported by the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office (LAWCO) Inland Fisheries Ireland, Mayo County Council and local businesses as well as local anglers saw 20 children experience all that that the Moy Valley has to offer. The sunny weather obliged on the day and the groups aged between 9-12 years were split into groups to work their way up along the stalls erected along the Cathedral Beat.

Mayo County Council was represented by Pamela Bergin and her team who held a kick sampling demonstration to educate the kids on the biodiversity and wildlife that exists underwater. Magnifying glasses were then at the ready to identify the various insects and bugs.

River Moy Trust children's workshop Ballina Salmon Festival

Next up were the National Parks and Wildlife team who gave a presentation on the animals we could expect to find along the river Moy. The team from Ballycroy National Park had some stuffed animals on hand to show the kids and educate them on the distinguishing features of each and what they fed on and where they were to be found in the valley.

After that, the team at Mount Falcon Estate had arranged for their Falconer Martin Mc Phillips and his able assistant Izabele to attend with some peregrines and owls on hand. He pointed out the features that made these winged predators so elusive and enabled them to hunt and seek out their prey. This was sponsored by Mount Falcon and big thank you to Jim Wilson and his professional team on the day.

River Moy Trust children's workshop Ballina Salmon Festival

The children were then brought to the Cathedral Hut where they were treated to snacks and drinks. Declan Cooke, who is the manager for the Moy Fishery had a glass tank filled with aquatic wildlife and the children helped identify the various fish that live in the River Moy.

After that the fishing started. Local anglers and ghillies were on hand to demonstrate the various fishing methods used on the river and all the children were given the opportunity to catch a salmon on the world-famous Cathedral Beat.

River Moy Trust Children's Workshop Ballina Salmon Festival 2018

The ghillies were organised by Martin Parker and Michael Tiernan from The Moy Catchment Association.  Spectators enjoyed seeing the children grapple with their newly acquired skills and when it all came to an end two silver fresh salmon had been successfully caught.

The next event on the calendar for the Trust is the Foxford Riverfest which will take place on Saturday 1st September. A similar schedule of events will take place as well as a fly-fishing demonstration organised by GAIA. (Game Angling Instructors Association) and the RNLI will be in attendance. This is a free event for all children and adults. The day will be filled with fun and surprises. For enquiries, please contact Taragh Cosgrave or Ciaran Boland at The group will also be making an appearance at Food Fleadh Ballina which will coincide with the Other Voices Ballina Festival at the end of September.

The organisers would like to pay special tribute to Mike Kane who is our Community water officer based in Castlebar.

Thanks to the Moy Catchment Association who also played a big part in the day and assisted children along the riverbank teaching them how to cast and giving them a wonderful experience. Declan Cooke and the IFI played a massive part of making the day a special day for all the Children. Declan’s enthusiasm is infectious and his dedication apparent. Finally, sincere thanks to Paddy Bonner of the Ballina Angling Centre who supplied all the tackle and bait for the day free of charge.

We hope that this will become an annual event in the Ballina Salmon Festival calendar and look forward to working with the River Moy Trust in years to come.

Thanks to Michael Pajkert for the wonderful photos! 

Children’s Event – O’Hara’s of Foxford Pirate Treasure Hunt


Ahoy Mateys!!

Join us on the Family Pirate Treasure Hunt starting from the Duck Pond, Belleek Woods at 1:30pm sharp on Thursday July 12th.

Come and dress up in your best pirate costume and follow the clues to find the answers throughout the woods. Goodies for all children when they have solved all their clues!

Please note that anyone wishing to participate in the Treasure Hunt must arrive by 1.30pm.

Suitable for all ages and children must be accompanied by an adult. No booking necessary – just turn up on the day.

Kindly supported by O’Haras of Foxford 🍞. #

A sincere thank you to Coillte and the Belleek Woods Enhancement Committee for facilitating this event in our beautiful Belleek woods.


Coillte LogoO'Hara's of Foxford

Ballina Salmon Festival Children’s Programme 2018

Here’s a full list of our children’s events for 2018 – with over 50 events to choose from, there will be something to suit all ages and interests.  You can book online at  A sincere thank you to our sponsors and supporters, without whom it just would not be possible to run the Ballina Salmon Festival Children’s Programme 2018.

Ballina Salmon Festival Children's Programme 2018

Ballina Salmon Festival Children's Programme 2018

Ballina Salmon Festival Children's Programme 2018

Children’s Event: Music for Little Ones Workshops (x3)

These music workshop for small children are a really great way to introduce music to young children and parents who might want to continue music-making at home!

Activities will include, finger plays, bouncing songs, action songs, rhymes, creative movement and instrument playing to name but a few. These are all introduced through play and performance using a variety of colourful and multi-sensory props as well as finger and hand puppets.

A parent/guardian must attend with child – one adult, one child.


About Music for Little Ones

The Music for Little Ones at Ballina Salmon Festival workshops are facilitated by Miriam Ross. Miriam is a qualified Colourstrings Kindergarten Music teacher and teaches music in Alexandra College, Dublin.

She is the founder of Music for Little Ones, a specialised music school offering music classes to young children and their parents.

Visit | Like the Music for Little Ones Facebook page


Date: Friday 13th July


 – Age 3months – 1 year: 10.30am – 11.05am

 – Age 1-2 years: 11.20am – 11.55am

  – Age 2-3 years: 12.15pm – 12.50pm

Location: Ballina Arts Centre

Admission: €5. Booking essential. Maximum 8 per class


Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

2017 Lady of the Moy, Thérese Ní Láimhín shares her story!

The Lady of the Moy competition has been a feature of Ballina Salmon Festival for many years now. 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! Our 2017 Lady of the Moy, Thérese Ní Láimhín shares her account of her year here. 


“My experience as Lady of the Moy 2017 has been thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding.

The week of the Ballina Salmon Festival was definitely my favourite week of the summer. Being chosen as Lady of the Moy was an exciting accolade and wonderful privilege.

I really enjoyed dressing up for Heritage Day and fair play chaperone and festival Chairman Billy Lewis who also suited up for the fun-packed day, thanks to the Ballina Costume Company. A special thanks as well to all of those who dressed up and added great colour to this memorable day. I got the chance to do interviews for Mid West Radio and Sky TV and they were great fun.

The Night at the Proms was an occasion to be remembered with so many talented people from Ballina performing in the Great National Hotel.

Being involved in children’s events such as ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ and having a boogie at the ‘Over 55’s Tea Party’ gave me the opportunity to meet with people from the community and to enjoy a chat and a laugh with them. I also had the privilege to sing and play on stage at the ‘Irish Traditional Night’.

On the final evening of the week-long Festival I had the special honour of leading the magnificent Mardi Gras Parade through the town of Ballina.

Later in the year, I took part in a fashion event raising awareness and money for the ‘Adi Roche Foundation’ which helps children who are still suffering from the disaster that occurred in Chernobyl. I also visited local nursing homes in Ballina and enjoyed meeting with the residents and staff and having a sing along with them.

I have learned and experienced so much by being part of the Ballina Salmon Festival as Lady of the Moy.  I would like to thank Gerry and Siobhan Moran at the Station House Hotel team for entering me as the hotel’s representative. A big thanks to Martha and her team at Allure Hairdressing, Ballina for all the beautiful hair styles during this eventful week. I will be forever grateful to Mary Moyles of the Broken Jug Ballina and the hard-working team involved in the organisation of the Ballina Salmon Festival.”

If you’d like to enter the 2018 Lady of the Moy, just send a private message to the Facebook page here

CHILDREN’S EVENT: Right on Cue Snooker Coaching Sessions (x2)

Be right on cue to learn all about snooker and brush up on your potting skills with snookery instructors on hand at Century Snooker Club. Ballina. With six championship snooker tables, what better place to learn about snooker and get some practice in?

Suitable for: Age 11+

Date: Saturday 14th July

Time: 2pm – 3pm and 3pm – 4pm

Location: Century Snooker Club, Abbey Business Park, Ardnaree

Admission: €2. Booking essential

Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

CHILDREN’S EVENT: Story Time with Under the Bed Monsters

Meet the Under the Bed Monsters for the very first time!

We are very excited to invite you to a special story time at Ballina Library where we will introduce you to Gryffin, Hattie, Bidge, Bugly and Poppi! You will hear all about their adventures, have fun colouring and be able to design your very own monster in our special competition!

Please tell all your friends and we cannot wait to meet you there.


Suitable for: All ages

Date: Saturday 14th July

Time: 11am – 12.30pm

Location: Mayo County Library, Pearse St, Ballina

Admission: FREE. Booking essential

Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

Children’s Event – “Birdfeeders” Art Workshops (x2) with Gemma McGuinness

Art teacher and artist Gemma  McGuinness will show children in this socially interactive class how to create fun and pretty bird feeders using everyday objects and a range of art materials.


Suitable for:  Children aged 5+

Date: Friday 13th July

Time: 3pm – 4pm and 4pm – 5pm

Location: Ballina Arts Centre

Admission: €5. Booking essential


Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

CHILDREN’S EVENT: Children’s Yoga Session with Marie Loftus Yoga

An introduction to yoga with movement, stretching and lots of fun with Marie Loftus Yoga.


Suitable for:  Children aged 8-10

Date: Friday 13th July

Time: 2pm – 3pm

Location: Community Garden, The Jackie Clarke Collection, Pearse St

Admission: €2. Booking essential


Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

Children’s Event – “Stained Glass Suncatchers” Art Workshops (x2) with Gemma McGuinness

Art teacher and artist Gemma will show children in this socially interactive class how to create beautiful suncatchers using a range of art materials.


Suitable for:  Age 5-12


Monday 9th July  3pm – 4pm and 4pm – 5pm

Saturday 14th July, 10.45am – 11.45am and 12pm – 1pm

Location: Ballina Arts Centre, Barrett St

Admission: €5 + booking fee


Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

CHILDREN’S EVENT: Character Workshops with Mammy Red Head

Discover the character within and create your own with Ballina blogger and author Mammy Red Head, AKA Gemma McLoughlin.

Discover how everyday items can get a child’s mind exploring the world of stories. With games and a world of imagination.

The workshop ends with a reading from one of Gemma’s children’s books.

For each workshop children need to wear comfortable clothes and footwear and bring a drink.


Suitable for:  Children aged 5+

Date: Thursday 12th July

Time: 10.45am – 11.45am and 12pm – 1pm

Location: Ballina Arts Centre

Admission: €5 + booking fee


Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

CHILDREN’S EVENT: Stand Up Paddling Taster Session with Harbour SUP’n’Sail

Get on the river! Learn basic Stand Up Paddling skills, partake in races and have fun on the SUP board!

Max 12 children per class. Each class will consist of a taster session of 20mins each, with fun on the picnic area at The Point, Riverslade.

Harbour SUP’n’Sail offers group or individual SUP sessions from world class locations at Enniscrone Pier and the Quay, Ballina. They have a large range of beginner-friendly equipment and can cater for groups of up to 24 people in a single session. All instructors are ASI qualified and hold First Aid, Water Rescue  and Child Protection in sport certifications. HSS is a fully insured accredited School.


Suitable for:  Children aged 10+

Date: Thursday 12th July

Time: 4.45pm – 6pm and 6pm – 7.15pm

Location: The Point, Riverslade (grassy area around the corner, past Tom Ruane Park on Sligo Road)

Admission: €5. Booking essential


Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

CHILDREN’S EVENT: Fun in Tumble Jungle

Enjoy a fun session in Ireland’s largest indoor play centre, Tumble Jungle!

Suitable for:  Children of all ages, but must be no taller than 4ft 11in  (150cm)

Date: Thursday 12th July

Time: 10.30am – 11.20am

Location: Tumble Jungle Indoor Play Centre, Bunree

Admission: FREE, but booking is essential. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Book tickets

Please note a limit of five children per booking applies.

You can also book tickets by calling into Tumble Jungle in Bunree, Ballina or calling 096 76637.


Children’s Event – Storyboard Workshop with Mammy Red Head

Create your own story through interactive games and imagination with our Ballina blogger and author, Mammy Red Head AKA Gemma McLoughlin.

Children are encouraged to get writing and drawing, talk about how a story comes together then create one!

The workshop ends with a reading from Mammy Red Head’s book, ‘Little Red Head in the Céide Fields’.

For each workshop children need to wear comfortable clothes and footwear and bring a drink.


Suitable for:  Age 5+

Date: Tuesday 10th July

Time: 10.30am – 11.30am AND 12pm – 1pm

Location: Ballina Arts Centre, Barrett St

Admission: €5 + booking fee

Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

CHILDREN’S EVENT: Moy Trust Children’s River Workshop

As part of the Ballina Salmon Festival programme this year, we’re delighted to be able to offer this exciting and interactive educational workshop all about the River Moy facilitated by the  Moy Trust, a newly formed advocacy group for the river.

This fascinating and inspiring river-related workshop will incorporate science, ecology, river-based wildlife, flora and fauna, angling, falconry and more, and will involve Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Local Authorities Waters and Communities Office (LAWCO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mayo Co Council’s Environment Department; the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and local angling clubs –  to name but a few!

Fun and interactive

The workshop will take place over the entire stretch of the Cathedral Beat, between the two bridges. Children will be broken into groups and will have an opportunity to learn in a fun interactive way about river wildlife – in the river and on the river bank, the science of the river, learn all about water safety, meet some wonderful birds of prey.

Best of all, each participating child will get a chance to try their hand at fishing on the famous River Moy, receiving one-on-one tuition from an experienced angler.

Healthy refreshments will be served on the day and children can expect some additional surprises too!

Suitable for:  Age 10+

Date: Tuesday 10th July

Time: 11am – 2pm

Location: Cathedral Road, Ballina

Admission: €5 + booking fee

Requirements: Children are advised to wear old clothing and bring waterproofs, and to bring a healthy packed lunch.


Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

CHILDREN’S EVENT: Martial Arts Skills Workshop

Learn basic martial arts skills with Harry at Moy Valley Freestyle Martial Arts.

Martial Arts benefits children in many ways, such as helping them to learn how to focus better, building self confidence, team work, anti bullying, discipline, respect, how to deal with stress and so much more.

Suitable for:  Age 5+

Date: Tuesday, 10th July

Times: 11am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 3.30pm

Location: Killala Road Business Park

Admission: €2 (book below)


Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

Children’s Event – Rinka Fun fitness workshops

Rinka Ballina offers non-competitive classes to build children’s confidence, using a dynamic and fun system to manage their health and wellbeing through active and creative fitness programmes. Whatever a child’s interest, there is something to offer with classes ranging from dance, drama and fitness. Creating healthy bodies, healthy minds and happy hearts is Rinka’s business!

Your child will enjoy this fun fitness workshop that will benefit both body and mind!

Date: Monday 9th July

Time: 11am – 12pm (age 3-7) and 12pm – 1pm (age 8-12)

Location: Ardnaree Sarsfields GAA Club

Admission: €2 non-refundable. Book below or by calling into the Ballina Salmon Festival Booking Office in Ballina Tourist Office.

Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Max two children per booking.

**EVENT RESCHEDULED** Children’s Event: “Come Try it” Paddle on the Moy with Moy Canoe Club


***Update: Saturday 7th July: Due to insurance issues, we regret to inform you that we will be unable to proceed with  tomorrow’s “Come Try It” canoe session with Moy Canoe Club. We are deeply sorry to disappoint with this last minute cancellation and wish to sinerely thank Moy Canoe Club – who have been wonderful supporters of our children’s events for many years – for their work, and their generosity and willingness to host the event.***

The River Moy lies at the heart of Ballina, and if you haven’t yet seen Ballina from the river, now’s your chance!

Moy Canoe Club is kindly running a taster session and and parents and children are all welcome to come along and give it a go!

Please wear shorts and tshirts. Lifejackets provided.

No booking required.

Suitable for:  Age 12+

Date: Sunday 8th July

Time: 11am – 1pm

Location: Change of venue to The Point, Riverslade, Quay Road (green area just after you turn off the main Sligo Road for the Quay) Cathedral Road, Ballina

Admission: FREE

Children’s Event – Art & Crafts with Elsa

Artist Elsa O’Reilly holds a Degree in printed textiles and surface pattern and loves to share her knowledge with children as she shows them how to enjoy working with different materials to create amazing works of art!

Elsa will be delivering two great workshops as part of this year’s Ballina Salmon Festival.


Session 1: Monday 9th July, 10.45am – 11.45am – Kids’ Clay making Workshop

An hour of fun creating a keepsake out of clay ! The children will make a clay frame or pencil holder using easy to use air drying clay,which they can decorate and take home.

Suitable for ages 6 plus


Session 2: Monday 9th July, 12pm – 1pm – Make a Cardboard Moving Monster

The children will make a cardboard monster of their own design with amazing moving parts! They will use different materials to decorate the monsters ready to take home .

Creative and fun, suitable for age 6 plus.

Book tickets

Please note a limit of two children per booking applies.

BSF Busking Competition

The Supermac’s Ballina Salmon Festival Busking Competition takes place again this year during the course of festival week in the town centre.

The competition, which is very kindly sponsored by Supermac’s, Ballina, is open to solo performers and bands/groups of all ages. All types of music are welcomed.

All buskers can perform anytime they wish on those days between 10am and 5pm in town on the following days:

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday due to Heritage Day 
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday

The busking competition is a great addition to the festival programme, complimenting The Core Stage and bringing the streets of Ballina alive with music.


Prize Fund

There is one prize only of €750 – winner takes all!


How to enter
  • All entries must be submitted online via the entry form below.
  • All entry fees must be paid by July 4th – this can be done online, or call the festival office and do this over the phone.
  • Buskers should pick up their entrants badge/permit from the Festival office prior to their daily street performance.
  • Entry fees:
    • €10 per individual artist (w/ €1 booking fee)
    • €20 per group (w/ €2 booking fee)
  • The maximum number of entrants is 40 and the application form below will close automatically once this number is reached.
    • If you find that entry is closed, do stay tuned to the website and Ballina Salmon Festival Facebook page for updates on cancellations which may open up a slot for you.
  • Entry forms will be available from May 1st until July 3rd 2018 (or until the last slot is filled)



All amplification will be checked for volume and if requested to lower your volume all entrants are required to do so – in the interests of all parties: general public, businesses, and the festival organisers. Failure to comply with a request may result in disqualification from the competition.


Competition Judging

Judging in the Supermac’s Ballina Salmon Festival Busking Competition will take place each day from 2-3pm. Buskers must be playing for this hour at least on any single day to be judged for the final.

Entrants should have their badge/permit on display during this time or they will not be judged as part of the competition.


Supermac’s Ballina Salmon Festival Busking competition FINAL

A final will be held on stage at the Market Square on Saturday 15th July at 7:30pm with the winner being selected at 10pm, just before the start of Mardi Gras.

All entrants will be notified by text message by 4pm on Saturday if they have reached the final.



Buskers are completely free to collect money donated by passers-by – this is something core to busking which festival organisers are not restricting.


Not entering the competition? No problem!

The festival is happy to welcome buskers who do not wish to enter the busking competition, as we know and value the additional atmosphere that music will bring to the town.

In Addition, The Core Mayo would like to invite musicians to showcase their talents on The Core Music Stage for their lunchtime performances in the Jackie Clarke Collection garden throughout festival week. Application form can be filled out here:


Entry Form

The Moy Swim 2018

  • The Ham Bridge, Ballina
  • Sunday, July 8, 2pm sharp now moved to Thursday, July 12, 6pm sharp
  • Registration:
    • Swim Ireland non-members: €15 (w/ €1 booking)
    • Swim Ireland members: €5  (w/ €0.50 booking)
      • Swim Ireland members must produce their member card (digital copy is fine) showing their member number.
  • Online below (until 9am that day), or between 5 – 5:30pm on the day.
  • Ages 14+ (ID required)

One of the oldest river swims in Ireland, the Moy Swim started in Ballina back in the 1950’s and was held for many years. The original swim started at the famous salmon weirs and swimmers would dive in there and swim to St. Muredach’s College.

The current Ballina Salmon Festival chairman, Billy Lewis is a past winner of the Moy Swim, and we are proud to revive the swim as part of Ballina Salmon Festival 2018.

The late Liam Molloy was a stalwart in swimming in Ballina and organised many galas at the old Swimming Pool in Bunree. He ran the swim for many years and there were many great battles for first place. Swimmers like Barry McHale, Dickie Cooke, Donal McEllin and Tommy Gawley battled it out many times.

The original cup, known as ‘The Bishop’s Cup’ was presented to the Ballina Swimming Club by the late Bishop O’Boyle many years ago. Peter Lowry was the last winner and has held the trophy all these years. Our thanks to Peter for generously returning it for this year’s Moy Swim.

The swim will start at the Ham Bridge at the bottom of Ardnaree and will finish at the steps at Bachelors Walk with first, second and third prizes for men and women. We’re looking forward to big turnout and a great race.

Register for the Moy Swim

The Hothouse Ballina 30th Anniversary Party

  • Old Military Quarter
  • Friday, July 13 from 8 til late
  • Tickets: €5 (w/ €0.50c booking fee)

Cast your mind back to the days of yore in Ballina; those halcyon days and warm nights in the height of summer when the capital of North Mayo was known far and wide as a party town like no other. Every weekend, thousands of people descended on the town to let their hair down, party and have a good time, and the memories of those legendary club days live on still.

The Hothouse flung open its doors in 1988 – the Summer of Love – and immediately captured the summer vibe. With the best of 80s and later, 90s tunes, it was a potent formula that brought like-minded people together – people that just wanted to party and have a good time. It was a special time, complimented by nights at Longnecks Niteclub, another special place overlooking the River Moy that captured the heart of many a local and visitor in the 80s and 90s.

This year at Ballina Salmon Festival, we’ll be recreating those magic club nights on Friday July 13 in the Old Military Quarter with the Hothouse Ballina 30th Anniversary Party. While the event marks 30 years since the infamous Hothouse threw open its doors, this is really a celebration of the best of our town’s party nights, and DJs Dermot Rice and John Moyles of NRG TWO will share the stage to deliver an unforgettable night of music and dance.

This party night aims to conjure up special memories of a fantastic time in Ballina’s history, delivering the cream of the 80s and 90s in one event. Bring your dancing shoes and get ready for one hell of a party!

Full bar available on site.

Buy tickets


Country and Western Night with Mike Denver

Ballina Salmon Festival is delighted to welcome special guest Mr. Mike Denver to this year’s Country and Western Night on Thursday, July 12 in the Old Military Quarter in the heart of town.

Known as “The Galway Boy”, Mike Denver is one of Ireland’s top entertainers, and is known for his high-energy shows where he performs his many hits  including ‘Wasn’t that a Party’, ’My Oklahoma Home‘, ‘Tommy K,’  ‘Galway Girl’, ‘Paddy ‘, ‘Hills of Donegal’ and his “Rockabilly” selection.  Mike knows that the many people that come to his shows just want a great night of entertainment and that’s what he provides! This will be Mike’s first time performing in Ballina’s newest venue, the Military Quarter with its unique, weatherproofing canopy cover.

Mike will be supported on the night by The Duets and Pat’s Country Roadshow.

With the on-site barbecue sizzling throughout the evening and entertainment for children, don your stetsons and line-dance along to the Military Quarter to enjoy a jive and sing along to your favourite country tunes. The event is proudly supported by Specsavers Ballina and Kevin Moran Butchers.

Military Quarter, Ballina – Thur July 12th, 2018

Show starts : 8pm.

  • Adult ticket: €10 (w/ €1 booking)
  • Child (under-15): €5  (w/ €0.50 booking)

Please note that this is an alcohol-free event. All children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. 

Buy tickets

The Ardnaree Grand National

  • Lower Abbey Street, Ardnaree
  • Tuesday, July 10 from 7.30pm
  • Admission: FREE

A new event in this year’s festival programme, the Ardnaree Grand National is a free family fun street event. All the fun of the races, full of thrills and spills! Have a flutter on the night at the Tote and if your jockey comes in, you can win!

Enjoy live music, a barbecue, face painting, a raffle and plenty of craic on this great family evening out. There will be lots of spot prizes to be won too, and special guests on the night including celebrity racers!

The MC for the night is local legend, Mr Terry McCole so expect plenty of fun and mischief.

Thanks to the main sponsors of this event, the Auld Shebeen, T Breathnach’s Pub and Callan Tansey Solicitors and to all taking part.


A Night at the Proms

A Night at the Proms returns!

One town, celebrating in one voice for one spectacular night.

  • Great National Hotel, Ballina
  • Tuesday, July 10 from 7pm
  • *Please note that this is a ticket-only event. Buy tickets here

On Monday, July 10, 2017 a little piece of social history was created in Mayo when Ballina Salmon Festival hosted a brand new event. A Night at the Proms 2017 brought Ballina’s wealth of choral talent together under one roof for the first time ever for a night of mesmerising live performances in the Great National Hotel.

Hosted by none other than RTÉ personality George Lee and produced by Ballina’s own inimitable musical maestro, Lavinia Gilmartin, this glamorous, sophisticated event turned out to be an unforgettable night when the people of Ballina came together as one town with one voice. It was a sell-out sensation and has been the talk of the county ever since.

Now, Ballina Salmon Festival is thrilled to herald the return of A Night at the Proms for the 2018 festival, featuring an enhanced line-up of performers and special guests singing under the guidance of the town’s many brilliant choir directors and, once again, overseen and produced by Lavinia Gilmartin.

The event will be staged on Tuesday, July 10 in the Great National Hotel Ballina and begins with fizz and fun from 7pm. Guests are encouraged to dress to impress and may well be rewarded for their efforts!

This year’s A Night At The Proms acts will include the St Muredach’s Cathedral Choir under the direction of Regina Deacy; Rejoice Gospel Choir under the direction of Tara Rouse; The Moy Singers under the direction of Jonathan Carter; the Centre Stage Vocal Academy under the direction of Maureen Lawlor-Ginty; Schola Cantorum under the direction of Regina Deacy; Ballina Chamber choir, directed by Niamh O’Kelly; the Heroes for Hospice, directed by Lavinia Gilmartin; Karen O’Hora’s Shooting Stars Academy and the Ballina Children’s Choir under the direction of Mary Caulfield as well as the much-loved Rat Pack.

A Night at the Proms will also feature performances by some spectacular soloists, surprise guests and Ballina Salmon Festival is thrilled to reveal that George Lee will once again make the journey west to present the event.

Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment!

Orla Hearns


Ballina Salmon Festival Festival Opening Day 2018

Turning 54 this year, Ballina Salmon Festival is the oldest festival along the Wild Atlantic Way, Traditionally the festival has always been grounded in the community and around the River Moy, and as you’ll read on page 25, a big effort has been made this year to return to the festival’s roots.

Ballina Salmon Festival Festival Opening Day 2018 focuses on the River Moy and on family fun, and we hope you’ll come along to enjoy a great festival opening day with us in Ballina.

  • 2pm: Monster SUP Race (Bachelor’s Walk)

Monster SUP Race organised by Mikee Hamilton of Harbour SUP’n’Sail.

*** DUE TO EXCEPTIONALLY LOW WATER LEVELS AFTER THE RECENT HOT SPELL, PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MOY SWIM SCHEDULED FOR 2PM HAS BEEN MOVED TO THURSDAY 12TH JULY AT 6PM.** You can register for this event on Sunday at Bachelors Walk from 2pm or from 5pm to 5.30pm on Thursday – or online in advance by clicking here.

  • 4pm – 7pm Think outside the Mud – Fun Team Obstacle Course (Scoil Padraig, Market Square)

From 4pm, join us in the grounds of Scoil Padraig on Market Square for “Think Outside The Mud” – where a cracking afternoon of fun and fitness challenges awaits as Ballina’s newest obstacle course challenges anyone who wants to take part! Prepare to roll up your sleeves and “muck in” to seek glory for yourself and your team!

Our obstacle course requires speed, strength, agility, but we guarantee you fun and lots of it.

Teams of four can enter to compete for glory (and the prize) and get around the course as quickly as possible.

Competitors must be aged 14 and over. We strongly advise that you don’t wear your best clothing! Safety goggles will be provided on the day.

Teams can enter on the day from 1pm – entry costs €20 per team of 4. Each team will receive t-shirts.

Spectators are welcome too to come along and cheer on the teams, and we guarantee you lots of laughs. There will also be a Kids Corner and you’ll be able to pick up a tasty treat or two along the way too.

  • 8pm – late – Live music with The Kerbs and Bog O’The Loughs (Town Centre)

From 8pm, join us in the heart of Ballina for some rockin’ live music at the Post Office Main Stage. Local up-and-coming band The Kerbs will perform some of their great new tunes including ‘Creep’, followed by the return of Bog O’The Loughs who rocked the festival in 2017.

  • The after-party in Ballina Manor Hotel!

Then, round off Opening Day with the after-party in the Shambles Bar at Ballina Manor Hotel on Barrett Street.

See you there!


Our opening day events are proudly supported by:


Memoir-writing workshops with Terry Reilly

  • Monday, July 9 and Friday, July 13
  • Rouse’s Bar, Pearse St

Ever wanted to put your life story into words? Here’s your opportunity.

Author and historian Terry Reilly will facilitate an informal workshop on memoir writing as part of Ballina Salmon Festival.

Dust down those memories and record your memoirs for your family or grandchildren. Terry will give you some tips on how best to do this in an informal and pressure-free environment. Attendees are welcome to bring along a sample they may have written already.

A thank you to Terry for his generosity in offering these workshops at no cost to Ballina Salmon Festival.

Spaces limited to 20 per workshop. Tickets:  €5.50 (incl €0.50c booking fee)

Book tickets

The Lady of the Moy at Ballina Salmon Festival

The annual Lady of the Moy competition takes place in The Great National Hotel, Ballina on 29th June June 2018 at 8pm.

The Lady of the Moy competition is a real highlight of the lead-in to Ballina Salmon Festival each year, and this year’s event will be no exception. Guests are promised a thoroughly entertaining night out, filled with music, glitz and glamour as 13 beautiful ladies from the North-West region vie for the prestigious title of Lady of the Moy.

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!

The event attracts in excess of 400 guests annually with entertainment, great prizes and fun all night. There will be a Best Dressed Lady and Best Escort prize on the night. So don your glad rags, come along and enjoy a great night out at Ballina Salmon Festival.


Tickets priced at €10 are available at the door on the night.

Follow all the action on the event’s Facebook page

Lady of the Moy Sponsors

The 2017 competition is proudly supported and sponsored by the following local businesses:

Allure Hair and Beauty Ballina logo Lady of the Moy sponsors

Allure Hair and Beauty – main sponsor

the broken jug logo

The Broken Jug – main sponsor

Blooms & Things Florists

Winters Jewellers

Guna Nua Boutique

Mayo Crystal

Shaws Department Store

Great National Hotel Ballina

Noo Chocolates

Foody’s Pharmacy

You’re invited to the launch of Ballina Salmon Festival 2018

Ballina Salmon Festival 2018 takes place from 8th – 15th July, and the countdown is well and truly on!

We’re really looking forward to a great week for all ages, with some great new events and some old favourites.

You and a guest are cordially invited to the official Crowd Launch of Ballina Salmon Festival on Friday 22nd June at 7pm in the beautiful surroundings of the Jackie Clarke Collection.

This year, the festival will be launched in unity by the community of Ballina, in a celebration of our achievements and talents within the town over the past year.

We’ll also launch our official Festival Magazine, kindly sponsored once again by Office Pro

Enjoy an evening of entertainment and light refreshments, and meet old friends and new.

We look forward to seeing you there!

RSVP to, or by calling (096) 80095.

National Heritage Day at Ballina Salmon Festival

Step back in time on National Heritage Day
  • Ballina Town Centre
  • Wednesday, July 11 from 10am-6pm
  • Admission: FREE

 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 sensations of a market day 100 years ago, as the past comes to life and the streets are transformed. 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.

Watch the finest of Ireland’s craftsmen and women as they demonstrate time-honoured traditional skills. You’ll find basket making, thatching, turf-cutting, cooperage, spinning, glass-blowing and weaving. You can even watch the blacksmith at work. 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.

Watch out for the special Heritage Day edition of local paper, The Western People, especially produced for this day.


Heritage Quarter at the Jackie Clarke Collection

As always, you can enjoy a plethora of heritage and cultural activities in the Jackie Clarke Collection on Heritage Day. Participate in olde-word heritage games – hula hoops, skipping, hopscotch, ring toss, traditional board games – in the Courtyard all day. Enjoy heritage arts and crafts with Ballina Costume Company and a children’s workshop given by the Jackie Clarke Collection’s Education Department. Marvel at the display of Falconry and Birds of Prey in the Walled Heritage Garden at 2pm – 4pm. Atlantic Rhythm of Ireland’s Got Talent fame will be performing, as will Maria’s Musicians from Ballycastle. You’ll also learn about many of the tourism attractions in North Mayo that showcase our heritage.



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.


Musical Entertainment                

As well as on-street entertainment throughout the day, keep an eye open for some great acts performing on the main stage at the Post Office. Up-and-coming Foxford band The Kerbs will be making an appearance, as will Mayo Youth Orchestra, who are going from strength to strength, and watch out for some great other musical performances throughout the day.


The Garda Band returns by popular demand

Last year, the performance of the Garda Band made international headlines when they were joined on stage by Ballina native Garda Alan McGinty, who delivered a spine-tingling rendition of “My Way”, much to the delight of the huge crowd. We are delighted to welcome the Garda Band back to the main stage this year from 2-4pm, where another couple of surprises await!


Get Involved

National Heritage Day is not just a day to come along and witness – it’s an immersive experience, Everyone is encouraged to dress up and participate in this exhibition of living history. Hire a costume from Ballina Costume Company located in the old Parochial Hall on Bury Street – call +353 (0)96 72154, email – or make your own!



National Heritage Day is kindly sponsored by McFadden Funfairs and Midwest Radio.