Pics: Donal Foley
IT PROMISES to be a spectacular gathering of locals, visitors and friends, all determined to add summer zip and zest to a proud county town.
The ninth annual Abhainn Rí Festival in Callan boasts what is arguably its most ambitious programme.
From the off on this Friday, right up to and including Sunday, July 8, there is a multitude of entertainment to suit all tastes, all ages.
There was even an air of festivity about the launch which brought together members of the festival committee and fellow enthusiasts from Callan Youth Group.
Plotting and planning and looking forward to 10 action-packed days are committee members Helen Murray, Antoinette Crotty, Rachel Murray and Anthony O’Brien.
The event will bring together a multiplicity of groups and people, all with the common goal of giving Callan the kind of lift that will inject people with vim and vigor and renewed energy.
Aptly, those who have passed on and perhaps done their bit for their beloved town, will be remembered at an open air Mass in Kilbride Cemetery on the opening Friday.
Between then and the final Sunday there is a varied menu of tasty activities, organized and impromptu, involving some super local groups of men, women and children.
The last hurrah on July 8 will be a real blast of brilliance and will include an Alice in Wonderland-themed field day at the Abbey Meadow.
Callan will be alive with the sound of music, a dog show, stalls, classic car show, barbecue and the annual duck race on the King’s River, or Abhainn Rí.
For the field day, families are asked to dive into the fun day by wearing what we might term Alice in Wonderland garb, so elegantly shown off by youth club members at the launch.
Festival activities will also include Windgap Walking Club that will host an evening, a painting cabernet in the Ould House, Killamery on July 5 where participants will sit with tutors and create their own paintings while drinking vino.
Also on the final day is a Mad Hatters’ Tea Party, one of several great reasons to head for the meadow.
The committee has thanked sponsors for continued support, in particular those who have been so generous to the Alice in Wonderland Field Day, St Canice’s Credit Union, Callan, Keogh’s Bakery and Callan Co-op.
Lauded too were Kilkenny County Council and Leader and there was a special welcome at the launch for Malcolm Noonan and family and Matt Doran.
And there was a reminder that there will be free workshops for children throughout the festival.
Programmes are available or info@abhainnrifestival on Facebook.