As always, the West of Ireland’s biggest community festival, Ballina Salmon Festival will deliver a line-up of events that will bring the streets alive with live music, street theatre, art, food, heritage, sports, fishing and exhibitions – a mix of culture and craic that is unrivalled anywhere in the region.
Enjoy old favourites like Heritage Day, International Evening, the Mardi Gras and Firework Display and the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, along with river-based events like canoeing and fishing. This year, take in new events like A Night at the Proms, featuring over 230 performers from many of Ballina’s choirs, A Celebration of Traditional Irish Music and The Core Stage, featuring daily lunchtime performances from talented young musicians from all around Co. Mayo.
Over a third of the festival programme is dedicated to children’s events, and your little ones can enjoy a huge variety of workshops and activities on offer, many of them free. The variety of events on offer is a testament to the work of many passionate, dedicated volunteers.
The Ballina Salmon Festival 2017 will once again be one of the most vibrant celebrations of community, culture and craic along the Wild Atlantic Way – and below, we’ve pulled together some of the highlights for you.
This event signals the run-up to the festival, with the winner representing the festival and town for the rest of the year.
Guests are promised a truly entertaining night out, filled with music, glitz and glamour as our contestants compete for this prestigious honour.
The 2017 Lady of the Moy competition takes place in the Great National Hotel, Ballina on 30th June at 8pm sharp. Admission: €10
This year, International Evening opens the festival. Stock up on Ballina currency at the Festival Bureau de Change at International Evening, then take to the streets to indulge in song, theatre, dance, delicious food and drink from Italy, Greece, Mexico, Guiana, Burma, Nepal, France, USA, Argentina and China.
Take a tango with a ravishing Argentinian or marvel at the Mexican mariachi band. Bathe in the sights and smalls of a truly multicultural evening. Sip a glass of wine and enjoy some tasty street food. Visit landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Not bad for a night in Ballina! Admission: FREE
A stunning celebration of choral music will take place in the atmospheric Military Quarter, showcasing Ballina’s proud choral heritage in an eclectic evening of song. Our many town choirs will combine to put on a musical extravaganza – that’s over 230 talented performers, all singing in harmony in one magnificent performance!
Dress for the occasion and enjoy some refreshments in our unique, covered outdoor area as our talented choirs as put on an unforgettable musical experience. Admission: €15
National Heritage Day is one of the longest-running events on the Ballina Salmon Festival calendar, celebrating the time-honoured skills and crafts of generations past by rolling back the years and putting on a display that shows what life would have been like in the town 100 years ago. This year, the festival returns to its roots by renewing its focus on traditions like threshing, spinning, forgery, wheel-making, weaving and woodturning. Traditional music and the sounds and smells of vintage engines, turf fires and traditional cooking will waft through the air. Hire a costume at Ballina Costume Company and step back in time with us! Admission: FREE
Enjoy an amazing traditional music extravaganza, with the best of Irish traditional music, dance and performance at A Celebration of Irish Music in the Military Quarter.
Featuring North Mayo’s finest award-winning traditional music groups, champion Irish dancers, and lots more. Try your hand at learning some Irish dance moves and enjoy the best of North Mayo hospitality. Admission: €5
You won’t want to miss the most special Saturday night of the year in Ballina. The Mardi Gras Street Party starts at 10.30pm, and is the climax of “festival week”, when the streets become a colourful riot of music, costume and dance. Snaking through the town, magnificent floats bring mythical, fantastical creatures to life in a heaving procession of drumbeats and samba sounds, before proceeding to the River Moy for the customary fireworks spectacular. Each year, the display gets bigger and better. The sight of the night sky blazing and bursting with colour against the backdrop of majestic St. Muredach’s Cathedral never fails to draw gasps from the huge crowds. Admission: FREE
Little ones might sleep late after the previous night’s excitement, but down in the town park awaits a big surprise!
Amidst the lush greenery of Tom Ruane Park, the revitalised Teddy Bears’ Picnic promises bouncy castles, inflatable games, a pirate train, farm animals from Kiltimagh Pet Farm, and a host of favourite characters make the final day of Ballina Salmon Festival 2016 an unforgettable day for bears, small children and big children alike. Admission: €2 donation
This town centre stage, manned by Music Generation Mayo’s The Core Music Project will feature daily lunchtime concerts featuring talented young musicians.
The stage will also feature young performers from throughout the county of Mayo as The Core aims to provide a platform for young local musicians.
– The much-loved Soroptomists’ Flower Festival takes place daily in Ballina Methodist Church on Hill Street.
– Back by popular demand, the Busking Competition runs throughout the week on the main streets. Judging takes place 3pm daily from 2-3pm on Thursday – Sunday.
– The Ballina Salmon Festival 5k takes place on Tuesday evening 11th July, in aid of River Moy Search and Rescue.
Header image: Bartek Rybacki