Bank holiday weekend: Poets, ports and pride parades

Cork Pride takes to the streets, and honours its heroes, in what should be among one of the great bank holiday spectacles of the weekend.

Bank holiday weekend: Poets, ports and pride parades

Poets from all over the world, meanwhile, gather in Fermoy, while Kinsale, and Union Hall come alive with charity swims and annual regattas. Cyclists are preparing for a leisurely charity ride along the Cork-Kerry border and it’s festival time in the Kingdom.

Organisers of the Pride weekend plan a Family Fair Day in Fitzgerald Park with novelty events, such as high heel dash, lipstick relay, handbag discus and others.

The Grand Parade is the setting tomorrow for the 9th Cork Annual Pride Parade, due to kick off at 3pm. The festival’s theme is ‘Celebrating Our Heroes’ with participants urged to “wear what you dare”.

Meanwhile, Fermoy International Poetry Festival runs until Monday and features 42 poets, six book launches along with readings and workshops in venues encompassing Fermoy Hospital, local hairdressers, cafés, restaurants and bars.

The festival theme is inclusion, and readings in unconventional locations are aimed at bringing poetry to the people of the town. “For me, that’s one of the highlights because it really brings the people on the street, which is part of the inclusion,” said founder Gene Barry.

Ballingeary is the venue tomorrow for the start of the 5th annual Mick Dineen Cycle with two routes — 100km and 130km — through the picturesque scenery of west Cork and Kerry. It leaves the Gaeltacht village at 9.30am, passing Ireland’s highest pub ‘The Top of Coom’, and through Kilgarvan on the way to Kenmare over the Healy pass into Adrigole and on to Glengarriff. It will then head for Ballylickey, over the Pass Of Céim an Fhia and back to Ballingeary.

Meanwhile, up to 100 brave swimmers will tomorrow cross one of Ireland’s most beautiful bays in aid of the RNLI. The one-mile swim from Glandore to Union Hall follows the blessing of the newly arrived lifeboat Maritime Nation and its crew at 2.10pm at Keelbeg Pier.

Channel 4 star of Embarrassing Bodies, Dr Pixie McKenna will be on hand to judge a kid’s fishing contest and festivities include a flyover of the bay by one of the Irish Coastguard helicopters. A novel putting competition, a barbecue and set dancing on the pier are all part of Sea Sunday, organised by the fundraising branch of Union Hall RNLI.

And today in Kinsale, 20 rafts will take in a fun race to aid the RNLI, leaving the Bulman at 3.30pm and going up the harbour to the White Lady Hotel.

With over 200 years of history behind it, the town’s Regatta Festival has many land-based events in addition to the traditional water activities — from ocean yachts to mixed dingy racing, swim around Sandycove Island, and children’s sailing. There is also a new Sailability Sailing competition this year.

There’s a fireworks display tomorrow night, followed by a water carnival, on Monday, including the popular ‘Greasy Pole’ event.

The memory of Kerry balladeer and folklorist Sean McCarthy, who penned Red Haired Mary, will be kept alive at the 20th festival in his honour in the villages of Finuge and Lixnaw, near Listowel. The programme got under way last night and continues over the weekend with children’s art competitions, and the final of the Sean McCarthy Ballad Competition.

A busking competition, with a €1,000 prize fund, will feature in the packed programme for the annual Festival of Music and the Arts in Caherciveen throughout the weekend.

The 27th annual Busking for Charity event will be staged at Market Cross, Killarney, on Monday from 11am-6pm, while the Killorglin and District Mental Health Association will be the beneficiary of the annual local pony show tomorrow, seen as a lead-in to Puck Fair.

And finally, the Kilgarvan Agricultural Show, tomorrow, celebrates its 30th anniversary with competitions for cattle, sheep, horses, ponies and poultry, and fun for everyone.

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