| 19.5°C Belfast

Coronavirus: Uninterrupted for four centuries... but now the Lammas Fair is cancelled

Close

The Lammas Fair in modern times

The Lammas Fair in modern times

The Lammas Fair in 1959

The Lammas Fair in 1959

The Lammas Fair in modern times

Ireland's oldest fair - which has been held without interruption for nearly four centuries, including through war - has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ould Lammas Fair is traditionally held every year on the last Monday and Tuesday of August and sees thousands lining the streets of the Co Antrim seaside town of Ballycastle.

The event, which marks the end of summer and the start of the harvest season, includes amusements, fun fair, and street entertainment, along with more than 400 market stalls selling everything from handmade art, crafts and local produce to the traditional tasty favourites of Yellowman, honeycomb and dulse.

Councillor William McCandless said: "We are all aware that our council area depends on and welcomes all manner of tourists - day trippers, weekend breaks, annual holidays and visitors who come not just because of the natural beauty, but also to enjoy the many events which our area hosts and is famed for.

"With the cancellation of events such as North West 200, Supercup NI and the latest casualty to be the Ould Lammas Fair, we appreciate the severe blow this is to our local tourist economy and the severe disappointment to visitors and local residents. However, we all appreciate in these abnormal times that it is impossible to let events like this proceed no matter how disappointing it is and we look forward to bigger and better events in 2021."

Mr McCandless said coronavirus has affected sporting events, performances by musical artists and played havoc with holiday plans.

He added: "But I would appeal to all, life is more important, so continue to support the NHS by maintaining our social distancing, observe lockdown restrictions and help keep all safe. Let's work through this without fear."

Belfast Telegraph