A FEAST of entertainment fit for a king will be offered online and outdoor for locals and visitors during the 28th annual Féile Brian Ború, which runs from July 7 to July 11.
Last year, people were disappointed with the cancellation of the festival due to Covid-19. However, it goes ahead this year, albeit with some changes in line with Covid-19 restrictions.
Earlier in this year, Arlene White of Féile Brian Ború, recalled the organising committee weren’t sure if the festival would go ahead and were fortunate to apply for, and be granted funding.
“I think it could be very hard to come back and organise a festival next year, if we took this year off, presuming next July should be okay concerning Covid-19.
“There is a buzz of excitement about the festival this year. While we don’t have events organised for Sunday, July 11, we are hoping people will download one of the new apps and explore the sites together weather dependent.”
This will be the first festival without input from former committee chairman, John Grimes, who died last January.
Ms White recalled he was very disappointed when the local St Patrick’s Day Parade had to be cancelled for a second successive year due to the pandemic.
“It is hard going ahead with the festival without John Grimes. In another way, it would be worse if we didn’t go ahead this year.
“John was involved since the festival started in 1993. He initially thought the committee would be doing very well, if the festival continued until the 100th anniversary of Brian Ború’s death in 2014. It was great to keep it going for all these years. “John just adored the festival and loved to see it going well.”
In an interview with the Clare Champion, Ms White confirmed a lot of the focus this year is on outdoor family fun activities for children in particular.
While the committee couldn’t organise any event that would involve the congregation of crowds, she said people were delighted the festival is going ahead this year, subject to Covid-19 guidelines.
Erring on the side of caution, the committee met Sergeant Annette Ryan in Killaloe Garda Station, who was very helpful in deciding what events could take place in line with government guidelines.
Most of this year’s festival will be outdoor or run online including art classes for primary and post primary school students.
The pre-recorded art classes will take the young participants through the different stages of drawing and colouring.
Instead of an art competition, children are invited to design their own paper plate under the theme of “Your Favourite Place”.
Focusing on the sense of place theme, there will be an U-16 and adult photography competition.
The Killaloe Ballina Historical Society has recently launched an app, which provides people with a self-guided tour around the historic information boards documenting social history that are dotted throughout the twin communities.
Locals and visitors can also enjoy the Féile Brian Ború Scanvenger Hunt, which is suitable for all the family.
A downloaded app with be provided for families to explore Brian Ború’s Wild and Wonderful Art Adventure, with prizes for the best clan selfie.
The committee has decided this year to provide vouchers for local businesses as part of their continue drive to support local traders, who have experienced a difficult time during the pandemic. Instead of the Shannon Swim, the historical society got photographs from the Peter Lacey Photographic Collection, which have been expanded to billboard size, and will be located along the green perimeter fence.
People can take to the waters of Killaloe canal on a kayak and stand up paddle boarding for 30 minutes, while admiring the views of the twin towns.
There will be random flyboarding displays up and down the river during Saturday.
Outdoor workshops for up to six children will be run outside the library, making items linked to Brian Ború such as fairy doors and clan flags.
People are asked to submit photographs of their family pet under a number of categories – the cutest eyes, the best sleeping position, action shot for dogs and the best ‘oh no shot”.
Once entrants upload their photograph, they have the option of making a donation towards Limerick Animal Welfare.
The winners of various competitions will be announced on Sunday nights, possibly on Facebook live. On Saturday, a concert by Ballina singer/songwriter, Norma Manley, will be livestreamed from 8 to 8.45 pm. Her song-writing journey began with long summer evenings and dark winter nights washed away with the sounds of jazz, blues and soul.
Norma creates intense, melodic and timeless sounds, evoking jazz singers of old, infused with blues and soul, while constantly attempting to add innovative artistic flourishes that set it apart, mixing the past, present and the future.
The Bridge Arts complex will host an art exhibition with a Limerick-based artist Mary Hickey andZuzana Jezikova, who lives in Killaloe.
DJ Eddie will travel to a number of estates in Ballina and Killaloe to play music from his mobile disco. All the children in each housing estate are encouraged to come out and dance along.
by Dan Danaher