THE weather is not dampening spirits in Clare this summer, as communities right across the county gear up for a bumper month of festivals, competitions, music, song and dance, with plenty to do for all the family.
It all kicks up a notch this weekend as a host of events get off the ground and pave the way for Ennis to hold its second Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
In East Clare, the Scariff Harbour Festival will play host to Red Hurley and author Michael Harding, with Delorentos and Little Hours entertaining in the Fair Green. There will be fun events, fishing for kids, workshops, the launch of a new cookery school by well-known foodies The Happy Pear and plenty of activities on the waterways.
In Feakle, meanwhile, Martin Hayes is tuning up for his annual appearance with Dennis Cahill, as the International Festival of Traditional Irish Music marks its 30th year. This celebration of traditional music will see performances from East Clare stalwarts Mary MacNamara and Sorcha Costelloe, along with Cherish the Ladies and Don Stiffe, the Raw Bar collective, At the Racket, Sean Garvey, Brian Corry, Cormac Begley and Jack Talty to name some. Sticking with the traditional scene in West Clare, the Kilrush Traditional Music and Set Dancing Festival gets underway, with dancers attending workshops with Aidan Vaughan and Mike Mahony.
Visitors and locals will be dusting off their dancing shoes for the many opportunities to dance a few steps, with a céilí in the square each evening. Among the bands performing are the Dal gCais Céilí Band, the Johnny Reidy Céilí Band, the Five Counties Céilí Band and the Star of Munster Céilí Band.
The Kilmihil Festival of Fun also gets underway this weekend, with lots of children’s activities, a fireworks display, a cultural parade, vintage rally, water activities and novelty events, a 5k fun run/walk and soccer and football blitz.
The crowning of the newest Rose will be the centrepiece of the Rose of Clare Festival in Cooraclare, while Kildysart will hold its annual street festival, raising funds for the local playground in the process.
For those interested in classical music, Summer Music on the Shannon runs until August 12, with events in Kilkee, Ogonnelloe, Miltown, Quilty, Ennis and Limerick.
In North Clare, Lisdoonvarna Fanore Sea Angling Club will celebrate international angling week, with competitions taking place daily from August 6 to 11 at a variety of locations including Ballyreen, Blackhead and Arkeen.
As if that wasn’t enough, Kilmurray Harvest Festival is also taking place with a field day, gig rig, vintage show, equestrian events and dog show. There will also be fishing activities, a quiz and a festival cinema as part of the activities.
By Carol Byrne