John Corbett with a selection of memories of life in the Irish countryside
August is famous for festivals and sport, although one of the big sporting events in Galway takes place at the end of July rather than August. In former years it was followed by racing at Tuam.
Two of the best known festivals are Puck Fair in Killorgan, Co. Kerry and The Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim and they are held in August. Both counties are renowned for scenery.
Visitors cannot but be impressed by the beauty of Killarney and the pristine manner in which it is kept by local residents. Jarveys rarely disappoint their customers, providing them with a generous ration of folklore and history, as they take them for trips around its legendary lakes.
The town of Listowel is another Kerry jewel. Writers’ Week, which takes place early in June, is well worth attending. Those intending to go there are advised to get their calendars ready beforehand because it’s next to impossible to take in all the interesting events that are happening.
Dingle is a well-known Kerry town that is difficult to match as regards scenery. Few will disagree with the assertion that it is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland.
And then there is the small town of Sneem that gave birth to the famous Casey brothers who excelled at wrestling and sports – another scenic spot.
Tralee is quite attractive too and locals say that you haven’t really lived if you haven’t participated in The Ring of Kerry tour.
Counties Cork, Clare, Limerick and Tipperary have many attractions for sight-seers at any time of year, but summer and August are eminently suitable times for sampling them
Ballycastle, where The Auld Lammas Fair takes place, is located at the tip of Ulster, almost as far north as Malin Head. We found the people very friendly when we were on holidays there a few years ago.
August is a good time to visit Ballycastle because The Auld Lammas Fair is at the end of the month. Open air Bowling is very popular in the town and in other parts of the north. It’s a nice game to watch when the weather is fine.
The Giant’s Causeway, which is near Ballycastle, is a must, especially for those that like long walks surrounded by spectacular scenery. The Carrick-A-Reed rope bridge is also nearby.
Counties like Tyrone, Cavan, Antrim, Armagh and Donegal have lots of lovely sights to offer too. The beauty of the aforementioned counties is celebrated in music and song. The Derry Air is sung all over the world and other northern counties have made an equally strong impression in the music world. The Green Glens of Antrim, The Flower of Sweet Strabane and The Star of Donegal are just a few of the many delightful ditties that bring the scenic treasures of this region to mind.
Cavan has an abundance of lovely lakes and visitors will discover a rich vein of scenery within its boundaries. It was once a temporary home for Percy French, who produced so many popular songs. He was employed by the Board of Works in Cavan and wrote a comic piece about his role as Inspector of Drains.
Come Back Paddy Reilly is another one of French’s songs highlighting the beauty of the village of Ballyjamesduff in County Cavan.