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Mayo Day event attracts large crowds to Ballinrobe


Ciara Galvin

THE sun gods shone down on Ballinrobe Racecourse on Saturday for Mayo Day’s flagship event ‘Made of Mayo’.
The family friendly event attracted crowds in excess of 4,000 to the award-winning track for a jam-packed day of family friendly activities.
Celebrated athlete Sonia O’Sullivan mingled with the crowd which was speckled with the green and red, while the likes of Connacht Rugby’s Dave Heffernan, Mayo athletics star Michaela Walsh and recently retired Mayo GAA star Alan Dillon were on hand at the event’s sports hub.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday (Monday), Ballinrobe Racecourse manager John Flannelly said feedback from the event was ‘great’.
Asked if he would like to see the event return to the racecourse annually, Mr Flannelly said the committee would look on the event ‘very favourably’.
“It’s a super event and showcases the course, Saturday was a chance for people who hadn’t been racing before to see the facilities” said the manager.    

Song and dance
Artisan food and craft producers in the main arena boasted everything from cupcakes to fresh dillisk and everything in between. Craic agus ceol emanated from the Lá Mhaigh Eo tent, which saw children of every age join in with traditional music and dance.
For those interested in art, an exhibition from artists in Mayo and artists inspired by Mayo was selected by Royal Hibernian Academy director Patrick T Murphy. Those in attendance were treated to an afternoon of top-class entertainment from Mayo woman and UK ‘Future Music’s Songwriting Champion 2016, Lisa Canny along with Indie Irish band from Drumlish/Leeds/Mullingar, ‘Cronin’ and Irish Dancing from Atlantic Rhythm.
The workshop hub saw budding chefs get to grips with pizza dough in a pizza making workshop, along with crafty kids creating their own paper bag puppets and screen printing their very own hi vis vests.
A Literary Lounge celebrating writing and story telling saw readings and signings from  Elizabeth Reapy, Terry MacDonagh and poet Ger Reidy.
Chief Executive of Mayo County Council Peter Hynes described the flagship event as ‘the very best of Mayo’.
“Everyone seemed to enjoy it … the location was fantastic and has the potential to hold many other events, including a Mayo expo,” said Mr Hynes, who commended John Flannelly and his team for facilitating the event and to Martina Hughes and the team for their ‘enormous work’.
Mr Hynes said the May weekend has the potential to be developed into a ‘Mayo break’ including an expo and other events and added that there was a ‘great atmosphere’ around the county over the weekend with the mini marathon, Park Run and Mayo Pink Ribbon Cycle and Mayo Ploughing Championships all taking place.
Other events to celebrate Mayo Day included a Mass for Diaspora in Ballina, a visit by French Ambassador Stephane Crouzat to Moorehall, a wreath laying at the Famine Memorial in Battery Park, New York, the turning green and red of the Peace Bridge between the USA and Canada and events in Buenos Aires and Malaysia, among others.

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