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Virtuoso fiddle player, Martin Hayes will be at Scariff Library on Saturday at 3pm to discuss his highly acclaimed and recently-published memoir, Shared Notes – A Musical Journey. Photograph by John Kelly

Scene set for return of Scariff Harbour Festival

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FINAL preparations are being made for the eagerly-anticipated Scariff Harbour Festival, which returns after the hiatus created by the pandemic.

A host of family-friendly events are on offer over three days from July 29 to 31, showcasing the rich culture and heritage of Scariff and the wider East Clare region.

Among the many activities available to locals and visitors alike will be a scenic walk on the Sunday (July 31), led by owner of Shamrock Walking Tours, Marie McMahon.

Marie McMahon of Shamrock Tours will lead a walk through the hills of East Clare on Sunday, July 31, as part of the Scariff Harbour Festival

The walk will offer a bird’s eye view of the leafy landscape, following the hills of East Clare overlooking Lough Derg and its stunning surrounds.

Sunday’s walk will be 14.5km guided looped walk on the hills of East Clare. Those taking part will enjoy spectacular views of Lough Derg and surrounding mountains on the route.

The walk includes an optional 3km historical walk of the townland of Cappabane. That promises an insight into the local heritage, historical sites and folklore of the area. Walkers can join Marie half way around for this section.

Registration is at the Market House, Scariff, at 10am on Sunday. The walk will begin at 11am sharp.

Anyone wishing to join the 3km option needs to be at the meeting point at the Massrock at Cappabane at 12pm. Just after open air mass.

Marie started her walking and hiking business in 2018. Taking mostly Irish walkers to Central Portugal and walkers from across the world to Clare.

Her guided walks cover the east and west of the county, highlighting a range of sustainable visitor attractions.

Marie’s Portuguese base in the centre of the country, in Tomar, an old historic town which was once the Headquarters of the Knights Templar Order.

As well as leading next Sunday’s walk Marie, will be providing information on her overseas walking tours on the Fair Green in Scariff.

Meanwhile, an open-air market will operate from 10am on Saturday, offering arts and crafts and food products.

On the same day, Scariff Community Co-Op will be running a lunchtime ‘guided foraging’ event in their Community Garden to gather ingredients to be prepared and served al fresco with fresh baked pizza.

The festival also offers a feast of music. Virtuoso fiddle player, Martin Hayes will be at Scariff Library on Saturday at 3pm to discuss his highly acclaimed and recently-published memoir, Shared Notes – A Musical Journey.

Martin will read extracts from his book and takes questions from the audience. A busking competition takes place on Sunday, when there will also be a pop-up Gaeltacht.

For those with an interest in tracing their family tree and learning about the Irish diaspora, noted historian Jane Halloran-Ryan will be speaking on Saturday and Sunday.

Her talk entitled ‘An Epic Journey- from East Clare to Ellis Island’, will take place at 1pm at Scariff Harbour, on both days.

Jane will also provide 12 free genealogical sessions over the festival weekend at Waterways Ireland Building, to assist people with genealogical queries.

She will advise on how to progress family research including specific repositories, websites and online sources.

Pre-booking is essential for an individual session, by registering interest including name, mobile number and preferred day to by Thursday (July 28). Following random selection the festival committee will notify people of their time slot.

McKernan’s Woolen Mills will offer open days from 10am on Saturday and Sunday. Irish Seeds Savers are also involved, offering a tour on Saturday morning, as well as a Children’s Biodiversity Treasure Hunt at 3pm.

At 11am on Saturday, Andrew St Ledger, well-known Native Woodland Specialist and Conservationist and PRO of the Woodland League will guide people through the woodland lore of the area.

The event will start at St Cronan’s Church, in Tuamgraney, and finish with a Walk and Talk in Tuamgraney Community Native Woodland Restoration Project.

On Saturday at 2pm, the GAA pitch will be turned into a Kids Fun Zone and on Sunday, Oisín Foley will blend magic, comedy, song and dance and a lot of fun, with two shows of around 40 minutes each at 2.30pm and 4pm at the Fair Green.

The Fair Green is also the venue for a range of musical performances. The hugely talented Faye Moloney will perform there at 8pm on Saturday, followed by the Spirit of Smokie at 9.30pm. The
Kilfenora Céilí Band will be at the Fair Green on Sunday at 7pm, followed by Drops of Green at 9.30pm.

Full details of this year’s Scariff Harbour Festival programme are available online at

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at or telephone 065 6864146.

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