This year, the very successful French Ballina and Food Fleadh Ballina will be running side by side, as Mayo’s newest festival, the French Mayo Festival is launched. Billed as “A Taste of France along the Wild Atlantic Way”, the festival takes place on August 26th-27th 2016, and aims to build on the unique historical connection enjoyed by Mayo with France. This connection dates back from the landing of General Humbert in Kilcummin and his march to Castlebar, but also encompasses strong connections with World War I.
The French town of Athis-Mons is twinned with Ballina, and the communities have enjoyed a close and warm relationship in recent years.
The French Mayo Festival will build on Ballina’s reputation for arts and culture through music, song and pageantry, and will also showcase the best of Mayo-sourced artisan ingredients to create a spectacular French-themed food event, with the historic Military Quarter at the heart of the festivities.
For the first time, all French Mayo events in the Military Barracks are set to take place under cover in what will be a really unique outdoor space in the West of Ireland, reminiscent of Temple Bar’s Meeting House Square.
French Mayo Festival Programme of Events
As part of the French Mayo Festival 2016, discover the aims of the United Irishmen and some of the key figures of the 1798 Rebellion. The 1798 Exhibition will be on display from Tuesday 23rd August until Saturday 27th August from 10am – 5pm. Free Admission and all welcome.
Ballina Arts Centre presents Krzysztof Kieślowski’s “The Three Colors” trilogy, ‘Three Colors: Blue’, ‘Three Colors: White’, and ‘Three Colors: Red’.
Blue, white, and red are the colours of the French flag, and the story of each film is loosely based on one of the three political ideals in the motto of the French Republic: liberty, equality, fraternity.
A short commemoration and wreath-laying ceremony to open the festival and welcome our guests from France, Mayo and around the world, followed by a parade to the Military Quarter
Dramatic theatrical and musical re-enactment of the build-up to and landing of General Humbert on the shores of by Riverside Theatre Group and singers from Lavinia Gilmartin’s ‘Beyond the Barricade’.
Followed by a performance of Atlantic Rhythm’s “Saoirse na hEireann” – a traditional Irish cultural show based in 1916 in the west of Ireland and featuring no fewer than three world champion Irish dancers!
Full bar in operation.
Sample the best of Mayo’s food offering with a distinctly French theme. Includes stalls from top local restaurants, artisan food producers, and live cookery demonstrations throughout the day. Featuring a demonstration from special guest, the Druid Chef, Rory Morahan, who connects the Irish people with their heritage through food. Live music and a great atmosphere!
Free children’s cookery classes run by chefs from GMIT culinary school take place at 1pm and 3pm (one-hour sessions). Places are limited so advance booking is essential – contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 096 72800.
Traditional musicians from around the county, fresh from Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Ennis will gather across a number of venues to partake in a trad session trail and showcase their musical talents. A number of Irish Dancing schools from the region will also feature. Schedule to be finalised on Tuesday 23rd. All musicians welcome to join in!
The festival draws to a close with a big Ballina gig featuring The Stunning, Kila, and Jeannette Byrne. The gig will take place under cover in the Military Barracks and is a massive night not to be missed as The Stunning return to Ballina over 20 years after the last visit.
Full bar on site.
Note: Festival Schedule of events subject to change – please keep an eye on Mayo North on Facebook for updates.
This festival is supported by Failte Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way.