Guest blog: ‘Mammy Red Head’ on Children’s events at Ballina Salmon Festival


We’re delighted to welcome Gemma McLoughlin to the guest blogger’s slot at Ballina Salmon Festival. Gemma blogs over at Mammy Red Head, and here is her account of last year’s Children’s Events at Ballina Salmon Festival. You can also follow Gemma’s writing by liking Mammy Red Head on Facebook! Thanks to Gemma for taking the time to share her experience of 2017. This year, we’re working on an even bigger and better children’s programme and booking details will be online shortly. 

With the weather heating up a little and the snowdrops popping up the plans for the upcoming summer are beginning to start.  With two busy children who are always asking “What are we doing today, Mammy?” I’m always on the lookout for fun events taking place and keeping in mind things we did last year.  One set of dates I’ll definitely have in the diary is the Children’s events at Ballina Salmon Festival.  My two kids had a ball last year, every day there was different fun, engaging and activity packed events.  From paid workshops to many many free events, the choice was endless.  All the events were well run, professional and I knew and felt my children were safe.  Children are to the forefront of what the events were about,  all involved were happy to help and encourage the children to get the most out of the events.

Each event we attended had its unique theme from learning Martial Arts, Fun & Splash, Dance Workshop to Music Workshops the possibilities were endless.  My son’s favourite activity  was the Reeling in the Years Workshop, with The Jackie Clarke Collection.  Little Red Head got to immerse himself in the excitement of a newsroom setting where he created a newspaper, cutting pasting and writing.  He came out buzzing with all that was from years gone by, and he continued his newspaper at home making sure it was accurate.   Mini Miss enjoyed the fabulous Birds of Prey on the infamous Heritage Day, but her favourite event was the Disco in the Stephenites sports ground, where she boogied for hours meet up with her friends, made new friends and her favourite part, came home with a massive goody bag filled with treats and gifts.

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Little Red Head, Mini Miss and Mammy Red Head enjoying Ballina Salmon Festival 2017!

For me while I did enjoy my children’s favourite events, I’ve got to say my favourite was running around the picturesque Belleek Woods, at the Pirate Treasure Hunt. We looked for clues and made sure there were no pirates lurking around.  Little Red Head and Mini Miss got so involved and ran the length of the woods without even realising – always a plus for Mammy; tired happy children equals a happy Mammy! Like many of the children’s events there were drinks and treats at the end of the event.  I feel I need to say here that many of these events were free, but always came with goodies.

While the Mardi Gras and Fireworks on Saturday night isn’t on the Children’s events at Ballina Salmon Festival calendar it is well worth keeping the children awake for, what’s one late night ..!  For the past two years my then three and five year olds loved the parade and last year they loved it even more.  As the anticipation built –  “Mammy will it be as good as last year?” –  it didn’t disappoint. I love seeing the look of wonder and pure happiness on my children’s faces.

We all know that once the children finish up school towards the end of June we will be scurrying to find things to keep our kids busy.  The Ballina Salmon Festival is a must, and for the Children’s Events, I would advise on popping into the tourist office to book the workshops as they do fill up fast, but as mentioned there are many free events and this year I don’t doubt that the Children’s Events calendar is going to be fun-filled and exciting.

Ballina Salmon Festival this year takes place from 8th – 15th July and as ever, will include a full programme of children’s events. Online booking will be available for most children’s events at Ballina Salmon Festival so keep an eye on the website and Facebook page for details.