THE 400-year-old tradition of horse-trading was thriving at this year’s Ould Lammas Fair as traders flocked to the seaside town of Ballycastle to buy and sell animals.
The unbroken history of horse-trading at the Ould Lammas Fair was complemented by a range of attractions that put agriculture at the heart of Ireland’s oldest fair.
The annual event traditionally takes place on the last Monday and Tuesday of August, and attracted thousands of people to the streets of the County Antrim town to sample the festival’s unique atmosphere.
Agricultural themed attractions included a mobile farm that had alpacas, goats, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks and chickens on display, as well as exotic animals such as snakes, bearded dragons and meerkats.
Coleraine-based charity Riding for the Disabled provided pony rides for children, as well as a wheel-chair accessible trap for disabled visitors. Silverstream Sheepdogs also made their first ever appearance at the fair with their entertaining duck herding. Skilled farriers were also in action trimming horses’ feet and making horses shoes the traditional way.
A packed weekend of events and attractions included a heavy horse show and parade, and an evening of horse racing on the beach to raise funds for Riding for the Disabled that culminated with a stunning fireworks display, organised by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council on Sunday evening, to officially launch this year’s Ould Lammas Fair.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Brenda Chivers said: “The Ould Lammas Fair is built around its historic agricultural roots and we are proud to preserve and enhance this with a host of attractions at Fairhill Street, located at the very heart of the event. The activities provided by Riding for the Disabled have proved very popular in recent years and it is fantastic to see people availing of this enhanced visitor experience.”
The Street Fair through the town, famous for its delicacies of dulse and Yellowman, featured more than 400 stalls lining the streets of Ballycastle selling the very best handmade arts, crafts and speciality foods from around the world.
The seafront had been transformed into a bustling hive of activity with a thrill-seeking family funfair, including the landmark vintage-style Big Wheel, as well as artisans-at-work demonstrations, buskers, stilt walkers and ‘make and take’ activities for children.