The traditional start to the Oul Lammas Fair in Ballycastle took place with a dinner in the Marine Hotel attended by the Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Alderman Maura Hickey.
The two-day Fair which marks the end of summer and beginning of harvest attracts tens of thousands to the town and the dinner symbolises the long-standing tradition of the event as one of the oldest and most popular in Ireland.
Organised by Moyle Twinning Association who received the support of Causeway Coast and Glens Council, the gathering at the Marine, included representatives from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, the island of Islay as well as local councillors Joan Baird and Margaret Ann McKillop and the last chair of Moyle District Council, Donal Cunningham.
Also present were the President of Ballymoney Chamber of Commerce, Winnie Mellett, Corporate Services Officer of the Borough Council, Liz Johnston and officials of the committee who organise the Heavy Horse Show on the Saturday prior to the Fair.
Welcoming visitors, chair of the Association, Catherine McCambridge, said the dinner was recognised as a traditional and symbolic event and she was pleased that the Twinning Association had been instrumental in bringing it back after a year’s absence.
She added that the dinner recognised the links between Ballycastle, Ballinasloe, Islay and other regions whose friendship stretched back many years.
She added: “We are delighted to have the full support of the Council and are honoured to have the new Mayor present.
Alderman Hickey expressed her pleasure at being present and congratulated the Twinning Association on staging a very successful night.
“The Lammas Fair is one of the key attractions in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council’s tourism strategy and our council are heavily committed to ensuring its success. This dinner plays a key role in the build-up,” she said, adding that she would be supporting it in the future.
Alderman Hickey added she was looking forward to attending the start of the Fair on Monday Bank Holiday and seeing many of the attractions that brought tens of thousands to Ballycastle each year.
Guests were entertained to traditional music prior to dinner and the Marine staff were praised for playing their part in what proved a very successful evening.
Gifts were presented to visiting representatives and Tom Madden, a long-standing supporter of the Fair from Ballilnasloe Twinning Association presented MoyleTWA President, Seamus Blaney, with a gift.