‘A windy day is no day for thatching’ – ‘Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scoilbe’
See the past come alive at the Ballina Salmon Festival’s Heritage Day. The streets of the
Town are transformed into by-gone days when Ballina hosts the largest gathering of craftsmen and
women who practise the time-honoured traditional skills and crafts of Ireland. From the spinners
and weavers who produced by hand our Irish wool and flax, to the hand knits Ireland is famous for,
see it come to life. Watch the blacksmiths and forge work the metal over fire, see how the
cartwheels were made and repaired, and take a look at our old methods of vintage transport from
traps, cars, trucks, boats and bicycles. This year we are delighted to welcome Capt. Johnny Dicker
with the renowned “Sliabh na mBan” armoured car that carried the body of Michael Collins after his
execution. It can be seen at the Jackie Clarke Museum.
Watch how boats are made by hand and meet some of the fishermen who use them at sea
and on our River Moy and lakes and observe the skills used in spinning, fly fishing, knots used at sea,
tying flies and lures and the art of telling tall tales of the ones that got away! Many thanks to the
Mayo Shore Angling Club who are sponsoring a cup for the heaviest salmon caught on the Ridge Pool
on Heritage Day.
Get a chance to see straw craft before the art disappears, find out how to make hemp ropes,
baskets, rush-craft, pottery, spoon-carving and even bread cooked on an open fire and fresh churned
butter. Come to the bog! Get the feel of what a day in the bog was like. And do not forget the vintage
farm tools, horse and engine powered threshers, along with model farms. Long ago buildings were
the product of many hands, lime kilns, stone carvers, thatchers, while men worked pole lathes, fret
saws and worked with wattle and daub, truly craft workers whose legacy remains to this day.
Kids have a special area at Walshe Street near the Jackie Clarke Museum with games, crafts
and entertainment for and by kids. There are also special crafts for kids around the Market Square
and on Garden Street with a chance to make a skipping rope, a willow fish or a rustic face along with
other arts and crafts.
Enjoy a wide variety of sweet and savoury foods while enjoying the performances by the Garda Band and many generations of traditional musicians on the streets and on four stages. Over
twenty different music acts perform on the day along with sean nós and traditional Irish dancers
who will dazzle with their footwork. Listen to stories of our past, visit a traditional cottage and laugh
with the comedians on the day. Meet with friends and enjoy the craic while experiencing the past.