The prospect of glorious sunshine this weekend helps kick off a summer of weekend festivals and events that extend from Baltimore to Charleville and Youghal to Cork City and Clonakilty.
Horse racing at Inchydoney, vintage cars in east Cork and an abundance of seafood in Baltimore are among some of the outdoor events.
Indoors, in Cork’s City Hall, the Paddy O’Brien-organised Over 60s talent competition reaches a climax on Sunday night. In its 36th year and with almost €4440,000 raised for the Irish Heart Foundation to date, 14 contestants from Cork City, Fermoy, Mitchelstown, Carrigaline and other centres compete in the final. Fermoy hospital nurse Vera Noonan, 61, is the youngest finalist while 75-year-old Batt Dunlea from Killeens is the oldest. Last year’s winner Marian Collins from Carrigaline is among the guest performers.
Meanwhile, continuing until Sunday is Charleville Cheese Festival with an exciting programme of family events. The festival was revived last year after an absence of 21 years.
The festival theme continues in Baltimore where there is a celebration of the sea, seafood and the majestic wooden boats that fished the South-West many years ago.
In its 10th year, the wooden boat and seafood festival is a great family weekend with food stands and great helpings of free samples of local produce and music served up in bars. A build-and-sail boat competition along with workshops and races add to the attraction.
And following on from the phenomenal success of last year’s inaugural National Chowder Cook-Off, Ireland’s reputed gourmet capital Kinsale plans a similar event this Sunday.
Summer point-to-point racing comes to West Cork and to a magnificent setting at Inchydoney Island on Sunday.
A total of 111 entries have been received for the event, well signposted on the Inchydoney Road out of Clonakilty. And with the point-to-point season nearing an end, all eyes are on Co Cork trainer Robert Tyner as he makes a strong bid to be the top Irish trainer of 2011/12.
The trainer has produced 23 winners and will be confident of saddling more at Inchydoney and at his local Kinsale two-day meeting over the June bank holiday weekend.
Meanwhile, in the peninsula village of Schull, the annual short film festival is in full flow.
With no local cinema to its name, Schull’s very own intranet network distributes up to 150 short films in locations that extend from a horse box to a micro cinema, a school bus to a cycling cinema, village hall to numerous pubs and restaurants.
The short films are submitted annually from all around the world. With dedicated film festival intranet Wi-Fi spots, visitors can access hundreds of short films in the archive through laptop, iPad or smart phone.
And in Youghal, the seventh annual classic car and bike show on the front lawn of Farrell’s bar in Summerfield will showcase over 300 vintage models. Held over Saturday and Sunday, the event commences with a run to Villierstown in west Waterford at 2pm on Saturday, returning for a prize-giving ceremony for 28 perpetual cups at 6pm.
And tomorrow, Mark Dickens who survived the Manx2 plane crash in Cork 15 months ago, completes his charity cycle from Belfast. Leaving Waterford tomorrow morning, he and his team of cyclists are due in Cork around 4pm outside the Cork Leukaemia Association headquarters in Dyke Parade.
Another charity event tomorrow is a walk from Carrigaline to Crosshaven in aid of the Irish Guide Dogs of Ireland.
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