THE 6TH ARDMORE PATTERN FESTIVAL has been hailed the best yet by festival goers as thousands flocked to the ancient seaside village in County Waterford this past weekend to enjoy over 80 free events in glorious sunshine.
Last Sunday 22nd July saw the start of what continued to be a hugely successful Festival with the Annual Antique Fair & Afternoon Tea being held in St Declan’s Hall, along with a tribute to writer Molly Keane by poet Thomas McCarthy. Monday, the 23rd July saw Actress Gerry McLoughlin thred the boards in St Declan’s Hall with the internationally acclaimed play “Sisters” written by Declan Hassett and directed by Michael Twomey. This was a very emotional event for Declan Hassett, a regular visitor to Ardmore as his play was acted out on the very site in the village where his father was born.
On Pattern Day, 24th July a number of events to celebrate the patron Saint of Ardmore, Declan, began with over 100 people walking along the ancient pilgrim path of St Declan’s Way from Grange to Ardmore which led to a dramatisation of the Arrival of St Declan to Ardmore on Ardmore Beach by locals who acted out the scene. The dramatisation continued into St Declan’s Church where Mass was celebrated by Fr Milo Guiry with guest speaker Fr Jim Griffin former curate of Ardmore & Grange.
John Kennedy play some golden oldies during Musical Delights from By-Gone Days, while Peter Brabazon from Kilkenny won the final of the “A Song for Ardmore” Song Contest with his song “The Pride of the Deise-Ardmore” against five other great contenders.
On Wednesday, 25th July, the Ardmore Tidy Towns host a Climate Change Awareness Expo which attracted a large audience seeking advice on how to save money by changing to environmentally friendly methods. Annual favourite, Monster Bingo once again drew hoards of people, while Frankie Gavin & De Dannan filled St Declan’s Church with music to the rafters with Michelle Lally’s angelic voice soothing the soul.
On Thursday 26th July, Celebrity Chef, Kevin Dundon cooked up some delicious dishes during “Supper by the Sea” to a full house of mostly ladies. On Friday, 27TH July it was all up in the air as the Official Opening of the 6th Ardmore Pattern Festival Weekend began with a Street Entertainment Bonanza with some daring aerobatic displays over the bay of Ardmore by aviator adventurer Gerry Humphries in his distinctive self-built VANs RV7 followed by The Counterfeit Blues Brothers from Northern Ireland live in concert. Then it was back skywards as a spectacular show of Fireworks was set off to announce the official opening of the Festival which is built around the ancient tradition of celebrating the Pattern Day.
On Saturday, 28TH July hundreds of families scurried around the village in an effort to get through the myriad of events on offer for all the family. The programme of events began at 8am for the early birds with with a Wildlife Walk to see the Birds of Ardmore and later a tour of the shore to discover the creatures & plants living there. Then it was on to Fun Road Bowling, Pottery & Painting Demonstration, Arts & Crafts with the Kids with special guest Don Conroy, Star-Gazing & Guided Tours. For the more adventurous Zorbing on the sea proved to be great fun !
Journalist & Author, Joe Duffy spoke on his autobiography followed by a book-signing as did GAA Pundit Michael Duignan & local man Tommy Mooney. The Teddy Bear’s Picnic was a joy for all the toddlers as the waddled around enjoying the puppet show and entertainment. Guided Tours of Ardmore Coast Guard Station & Fire Station attracted large crowds curious to see how these vital services operate within the community, live music on the Festival Stage entertained the crowds all weekend. Saturday, 28th July concluded with ASLAN Live in Concert to thousands of people who revelled as Christy Dignam & the band rocked Ardmore, the good-spirited and uplifting atmosphere was amazing !
On Sunday, 29th July the pace was more relaxed as worn out from an eight day action-packed programme thousands ambled along to chosen events, nature trails, guided tours, art & craft classes, displays, fancy dress & farmers market was the order of the day. While on the water the sea was charged with the Thundercats revving their engines for a full round of the National Championships. Bestselling biographer & journalist Anthony Summers spoke on the pivotal stories of the past hundred years that he has written about. Hundreds danced the evening away to the lilting strains of the Kilfenora Céili Band for the Finale Extravaganza as the sun set over the beautiful bay of Ardmore & the 6th Ardmore Pattern Festival.