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Report on The Ould Lammas Fair

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Jimmy C 27 Aug 01 - 02:52 PM
Stewart 27 Aug 01 - 03:40 PM
Marymac90 27 Aug 01 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,chrisj 27 Aug 01 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Conán 28 Aug 01 - 04:25 PM
ard mhacha 29 Aug 01 - 08:22 AM
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Subject: Report on The Ould Lammas Fair
From: Jimmy C
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 02:52 PM

The following is a report on the "Ould Lammas Fair" held the past weekend in Ballycastle Co. Antrim.

Thousands in Ballycastle for Lammas Fair

By Jane Bell THOUSANDS of Bank Holiday visitors flooded into Ballycastle today-keeping up a 400-year-old tradition on the first day of the historic Aul' Lammas Fair.

Traffic ground to a halt as hundreds of jam-packed stalls spilled out from the hub of the Diamond, at the heart of the County Antrim seaside town, far into the surrounding streets.

With more than 100,000 day trippers and holiday makers expected over the two-day annual event, the fair is one of the biggest country-town gatherings since the shadow of foot-and-mouth disease hung over Ulster's rural communities.

Once again this year, a flock of grazing sheep were ousted from a field to make a temporary car park for hundreds of visiting vehicles.

At £3 each, the cars made a better return.

While there's still a bit of fair day horse-trading, focused around the old livestock mart in Fairhill Street, livestock dealing has largely given way to household goods, clothing, bric-a-brac and fruit stands. But there's always a pony ride for the kids.

Stall holders were doing a roaring trade in the traditional dulse and yellow man-immortalised along with Mary Ann in the late songwriter John H Macauley's famous chorus.

Wandering minstrels have long since been replaced by local musicians hawking their own tapes and CDs.

And spit-roasted pig has given way to the pervasive smell of burger stalls.

Church halls were doing brisk business in "plain and meat" teas.

In the modern hustle and bustle-with a neon-lit funfair as a backdrop-the Lammas Fair's remarkable history seems long forgotten.

As far back as 1570 a fair was held at nearby Dunaneanie, which means "The Fort of the Fair"- a MacDonald fort.

And in 1606 Sir Randal MacDonald was granted a royal charter for the holding of six fairs in Ballycastle.

The Lammas festival is traditionally at the start of August but, the story goes, because of the late harvest in the area, the fair was celebrated here at the end of the month.

It's not thought to have been a hiring fair-historians point out these would have been held in May and November.

Instead, it is believed to have been something of a match-making fair. That's one tradition that seems to have held.


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Subject: RE: BS: Report on The Ould Lammas Fair
From: Stewart
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 03:40 PM

Jimmy, thanks for the update. I've been curious about Lammas since learning Robbie Burn's song "Corn Rigs" ("It was upon a Lammas night..."). Too bad the fair has lost most of its tradition - but I guess that's the way it goes.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: BS: Report on The Ould Lammas Fair
From: Marymac90
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 04:25 PM

Neo-pagans in the states celebrate Lammas as a harvest festival, and mark it by baking and sharing bread, as well as other products of grain. Sometimes a "Maize maze" is created, and may be used to remind folks of their first trip through a dark, narrow path into the unknown...

Marymac


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Subject: RE: BS: Report on The Ould Lammas Fair
From: GUEST,chrisj
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 10:24 PM

Marvellous to learn more of the history of 'The Aul' Lammas Fair'. Curiously, the link with 'Macdonald's' hasn't yet been exploited, or has the golden arch in fact made an appearance in Ballycastle?


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Subject: RE: BS: Report on The Ould Lammas Fair
From: GUEST,Conán
Date: 28 Aug 01 - 04:25 PM

Sadly, the day was ruined for many thousands of revellers when a Loyalist car bomb was discovered in the main street. Fortunately it was safely defused but it leaves a very sour taste in the mouth. What happened in Omagh could so easily have been repeated here.
Conán


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Subject: RE: BS: Report on The Ould Lammas Fair
From: ard mhacha
Date: 29 Aug 01 - 08:22 AM

The lowest form of humanity cannot stand the thought of people enjoying themselves. The Lammas Fair is,and always has been,a fun occasion for everyone. It did not stop the good people present from continuing with their enjoyment. lan Ard Mhacha.


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