Well after two exhausting weekends I was quite prepared to relax and snooze away through the August Bank Holiday but there was one place I wanted to visit.
Alan, who works with me in advertising, happened to be passing through Durrow the other day and he saw a load of scarecrows lining the roads. He told me about it in secret and I determined that, tired though I was, I was going to the Durrow Scarecrow Festival.
Herself usually looks after my social calendar but it looks like I’ll have to take Alan on as well, at least on a consultancy basis. I wonder would he work for bones?
Now, I’m no crow, so I’m not afraid of any scarecrow, but it sounded like a fun event and my kind of thing, so I woke the hoomans early on Sunday and herded them into the car before they knew what hit them.
I refused to tell them where we were going but barked my directions at them. We didn’t even stop for dogguccino.
Durrow is just a short hop off the motorway so we arrived just as the festivities had begun and there was plenty to see.
Even walking in from the car park, there were scarecrows wherever you looked and the locals had obviously put a lot of thought into their scary creations.
I felt a little bit like I’d walked into a Fr Ted episode but this was a full on All-Ireland Scarecrow Championship and I was looking forward to checking it out properly.
But first it was time for the dogguccino we missed on the way down and we spied a lovely looking pub, The Yard at Bob’s, with a garden overlooking the river. We sipped our dogguccini while looking over the peaceful river with its weir and the local kayak club offering beginners the chance to try canoeing for the first time. They really are an enterprising lot. Me, I stay far away from the water. I’m a Westie, not a Water Spaniel.
We strolled around the village square, coming across a huge exhibit called The Capitalist Pig, which I think was a dig at the banks. I don’t trust banks, keeping my bones buried in the garden.
After examining the craft and food stalls, the aromas made us all hungry so we went to a café up the street where the hoomans had eaten before. Bowe’s Café produced two lovely looking salads for the hoomans but I must say they could be a bit more dog-friendly. They had a little garden in the back that I could get to without even entering the café, but no dogs allowed – the three saddest words in the language.
We continued our stroll, meeting the tallest woman I’ve ever seen – her heels must be a metre long and I even got to sit beside Marty Morrissey in his Renault – I though he handed that back.
Many scarecrows had the theme of ‘Mammy Sayings’ and I well remember my mother Mags saying some of them to me during my puppyhood in Churchtown. ‘If you fall and break all four of your legs, don’t come running to me.’ was always a favourite. I miss her.
I posed for some pictures in my AG Dog Fashion dresses and I met another nicely dressed dog, Roxie, several times throughout the day. We brought a sense of style to the event.
I even met a couple of real, live scarecrows and contrary to their reputation, they were really nice to me and I wasn’t scared at all. That said, I saw no crows all day so all the scarecrows must have worked.
We went back to Bob’s by the river for a nice drink in the afternoon sunshine, which unfortunately began to turn cloudy and even a bit of drizzle started to fall. I was grand with my raincoat draped over me and an umbrella above my head and it was nice just to sit and watch the crowds for a while.
In the middle of our last meander through the town, the heavens opened and we had to take shelter. I just don’t do water. We were able to make it back to the car to grab umbrellas and wouldn’t you know it – the rain stopped again so we went back for a final look around the exhibits.
One of my favourites was an entire restaurant scene and it deservedly took first prize. I really liked the monks outside the church too but my absolute favourite was the Iron Man Competition with a load of scarecrows ironing their clothes. I just hope they’re careful. A burn for a scarecrow is a serious matter.
I have to appawlaud the organisers for a fun and unique event. It goes on for over a week and there’s great sport on the streets. They deserve every bit of success coming their way and I thoroughly enjoyed my day.
The hoomans were equally impressed and you’d never know, maybe a scarecrow will appear in the garden some day. It’ll be someone else to talk to. I hope, unlike the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, that it has a brain and can hold an intelligent conversation.
Motoring editor - The Clare Champion
Former Chairman and voting member of Irish Motoring Writers' Association