Belfast Telegraph

Oul' Lammas Fair: sizzling good time had by all

By Amanda Ferguson

Yellow Man, dulse and horses were centre stage in Ballycastle once again as the 2014 Oul' Lammas Fair returned.

Thousands of people from all over Northern Ireland and beyond showed up for two days of festivities at the historic market in the picturesque Co Antrim seaside town.

Taking place on the last Monday and Tuesday of August, it is understood to be the oldest traditional fair on the island of Ireland, and takes place to mark the end of the summer and beginning of the harvest.

The exact origin of the colourful annual event is uncertain, but one theory is it began as a result of the occupation of the area around Ballycastle by the MacDonnells of the Isles in the early part of the 16th century.

On the first day, face-painting and pony rides helped the carnival atmosphere, while traditional music sessions in the pubs catered to a more grown-up clientele.

Sorcha, Terrence and Kay Donnelly from Donnelly's Family Butchers were doing a roaring trade in burgers as the sun shone on revellers.

And while some people stopped for a breather in the summer sun, little Abi Montgomery was among the children enjoying sweet treats, including sticky lollies and the world-famous local speciality – Yellow Man candy.

Those in the market for a salty treat, meanwhile, tucked into bags of dark dulse seaweed.

Moyle District Council tourism officer Caroline Carey said there was real "buzz" about the town.

"With stalls as far as the eye can see, street entertainment and amusements, there really was something to keep the whole family entertained," she added.

"The same people have been coming back to the fair – some for more than 30 years – and they keep telling us that they just wouldn't miss it."

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