Revellers nationwide enjoy bank holiday bliss

TENS of thousands of revellers made the most of the Bank Holiday weekend’s sizzling weather to enjoy festivals of music, entertainment and sport across the country.

Among the entertainment spectaculars pulling crowds were Dublin’s Heineken Green Energy Festival, Limerick’s Riverfest, the Bray Jazz Festival, the Cork International Choral Festival and Killarney’s Rally of the Lakes.

The Limerick festival saw up to 40,000 flock to the city to enjoy extreme sports, continental markets, a barbecue competition involving 60 teams as well as live music and entertainment along the banks of the Shannon.

Sarah Lynch, from organisers Eightball Promotions, said: “The Riverfest has gone really well — and the weather was especially fantastic on Saturday with blue skies and hot sun.

“We really hope this festival will make all the difference to Limerick. Our initial aim is to get Limerick people to enjoy what their city has to offer but ultimately we want more people to visit and enjoy what we have here.”

Comedian Brendan Grace presented the prizes in the barbecue contest, which was won by the Irish team for a tempting salmon dish they had cooked.

Meanwhile more than 50,000 flocked to the Co Kerry tourist hotspot of Killarney for the annual Rally of the Lakes motor sports contest.

Boy racers, madly revving engines and roads tattooed with brake marks marked the money-spinning and noisy weekend event.

There were 17 public order arrests and eight for drink driving on Saturday night, but gardaí said the weekend was relatively orderly given the huge crowds.

“We’re reasonably happy so far, with no serious incidents or major crimes to report,” Sergeant Ray Walsh, of Killarney, said yesterday.

Pubs were packed to the rafters, while off-licences also did a roaring trade.

Traffic was practically bumper-to-bumper as rally enthusiasts flocked in from all over the country.

There was serious congestion on the Muckross Road for several hours yesterday, with traffic coming to a standstill and gardaí advising drivers to avoid parts of town.

The driving by some of the rally followers was even more spectacular than that of the competitors, with plenty of rubber left on the roads and brake marks in the form of figure eight turns, doughnuts and other stunts.

Some industries and supermarkets closed off their car parks to the stunt drivers while gangs of youths took over the town centre’s New Street car park, with many sleeping in cars overnight.

Other events were the seventh Bray Jazz Festival, which boasted top-class American, British and French performers.

The Cork International Choral Festival saw 4,700 performers from across the globe entertain crowds at venues across the city.

Festival manager Sarah Buckley said: “We have had great audiences and a huge international influx of performers over the five days.

“We have been really encouraged by how well the festival has gone.”

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