VIDEO: Mad Hatters party on despite wet conditions at Galway Races

The sun was a non-runner on a dank summer’s day in Ballybrit, but a colourful Mad Hatters competition lit up the final instalment of Galway Race Week.

VIDEO: Mad Hatters party on despite wet conditions at Galway Races

Imagination and creativity was the name of the game, as hats of all shapes and sizes did their best to stay intact against the gusting odds.

Eilis McEvoy from Claregalway won the main prize in the Ireland West Airport Knock and Ryanair sponsored competition with a suitably crazy creation.

Ms McEvoy, an Offaly native living in Claregalway — just a stone’s throw from the track—manufactured a Mad Hatters Tea Party- inspired piece with layers and layers of cups and saucers.

“I did it all myself, it took most of yesterday and Friday to do and I only decided to enter last week.

Mad Hatter wnlner Eilis McEvoy, from Claregalway.

“I’ve won a holiday and I’ll take that next summer with the family, so it was worth all of the hard work in the end,” she said.

Shauna Cronin, 10, from Menlo in Galway, recreated Galway’s famous landmark Cathedral and won the children’s section.

The piece was dedicated to her grandfather, Paddy Higgins who was involved in the building of the cathedral half a century ago.

“It is the 50th anniversary of the Cathedral this year and that’s why I made it.

“It took myself and my sister Rebecca all week to make it — we were gluing and sewing for days.”

Noel Lehane, Cork, with his sister Francis, looking ace at the Galway Races.

Meanwhile, the big race on Sunday, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ahonoora Handicap, went to last year’s winner and 7/4 favourite, Baraweez from the Brian Ellison yard in Britain. And the Chanelle Veterinary Leading Trainer Award went yet again to Dermot Weld who had five winners during the week.

It was the 29th success in 30 years for the master of Rosewell House.

Killian Walsh, Craughwell, and Marie Lane Ryan, Thurles, at Mad Hatters Day at the Galway Races.

Fran Berry was the top flat jockey at the meeting, while Ruby Walsh claimed the National Hunt version.

Castlegar Parish Priest Fr Michael Reilly kicked off the final stage of the marathon festival meeting by celebrating the traditional racegoers’ mass in the parade ring before the start of the action on the track.

Killian Walsh, Aoibhe Farragher, and Lillian and Katelyn Walsh, all from Craughwell, at Ballybrit.

Racecourse manager, John Moloney also bade farewell to Galway Race Week as he stepped down after 26 years at the helm. He hands over the reins to his son, Michael.

“It wasn’t a sad week and I am really delighted that I have arrived here safe and sound, fit and well.

Kacey Shevlin and Ava Killian, Claregalway, all smiles at the Mad Hatters Day in Galway.

“I am happy with all the work we have done over those years and I am leaving a lovely racecourse — and looking forward to Michael taking over and moving forward with it,” he said.

Mad Hatter wnlner Eilis McEvoy, from Claregalway.

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