While July traditionally signals festival time in Ballina, another type of party happens during festival week in Ballina. Each year, Ballina Bridge Club welcomes over 200 delegates to the annual Ballina Bridge Congress, which takes place this year in the Great National Hotel, Ballina, from Friday 13th – Sunday 15th July 2018.
Delegates at the Congress travel each year to Ballina from all over Ireland, and indeed, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England every year, with some even coming from as far afield as Europe, Canada and Australia! And as festival fever grips the town, another type of fever is gripping the 200+ card players that will take their seats during the morning, afternoon and evening sessions in the Nephin Suite.
The game of Bridge with its intricacies and regulations can seem daunting to the uninitiated. Played with a standard deck of cards by four players in two competing partnerships, each player at the table is identified as a cardinal direction – North and South play East and West.
Just like in life, having a good partner is half the battle and knowing them well is critical to success! A game consists of deals, each progressing through four phases = dealing, ‘auction’ (also known as ‘bidding’), play, and scoring. In a tournament like this, cards are not re-dealt; rather the same deal is played by many sets of players so scores can be compared.
The scope of bridge is remarkable. The cards can be distributed in an infinite number of ways and subsequently the options available to players in every deal mean no two games are ever the same. And one of the attractions of this strategic game is that practice improves you – you can always get better!
Incredibly, the Ballina Bridge Congress will be 42 years old this year. That’s a lot of cards played, nerves frayed and friendships made. The Congress is run by Ballina Bridge Club with the support of local businesses, and every year attracts lots of repeat visitors to Ballina, many of whom use it as an opportunity to stay a little longer and explore the beautiful North Mayo area.
Ballina Bridge Club is accepting registrations for Ballina Bridge Congress now.
Accommodation packages available from Great National Hotel Ballina on +35396 23600.
Mixed pairs: €10 per player
Congress Pairs: €20 per player
Intermediate pairs: €20 per player
Teams: €20 per player
Gala Open pairs: €10 per player
Tournament for Novices: €10 per player
Ballina Bridge Club: Playing Tuesday and Thursday evening at 19.45 at Great National Hotel Ballina
Visiting pairs welcome. Contact Secretary: Mrs. Mary O’Dowd. 096 22145 bridgewebs.com/ballina/
Enniscrone Bridge Club : Playing Wednesday evening at 194.5 at The Diamond Coast Hotel, Enniscrone.
Visiting pairs welcome . Contact Secretary : Mrs Sally Egan bridgewebs.com/enniscrone/
Monday Social Bridge Club: Playing Monday morning @ 11.00 at Great National Hotel Ballina
Visiting pairs welcome. Contact Huey Daly : 087-7927736 bridgewebs.com/mondaysocial/
Photo: John O’Grady Photography