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In Pictures: Thousands enjoy Lammas Fair 2009

By Lisa Smyth

Yellowman, bags of dulse and streets lined with stalls and entertainment can mean only one thing — Ireland's oldest traditional fair is back.

Tens of thousands of people have flocked to the seaside resort of Ballycastle for the annual Auld Lammas Fair.

>>Click More Pictures to view gallery

And the worst of the weather — which saw flash floods in some parts of Northern Ireland over the weekend — held off, allowing the crowds to enjoy the first day of the two day event.

The familiar sights of the Auld Lammas Fair were all present, from the horse traders to the traders selling everything from lamps to dog beds — not forgetting the well known dulse, a purple dried seaweed, and yellowman, a honeycombed sticky toffee.

Dozens of buses lined the streets leading to the fair, which started in 1612 and has grown considerably in recent years, featuring about 400 stalls for visitors to sample.

Special carparks were laid on for the thousands of vehicles that converged on Ballycastle and those who flouted the parking laws were hit with parking tickets, as police tried to keep roads free from congestion.

Tom Andrews brought his two children, eight-year-old Rebecca and five-year-old Tally, from east Belfast to enjoy the world-famous fair.

Rebecca said: “I'm getting my face painted later. I want to be a tiger. I like the sweets as well. They're very nice.”

As well as the young, the Auld Lammas Fair also attracted many older people. Dorothy Smith from Bangor said she had been coming to the fair since she was a child.

“I was a wee bit worried about the weather when the rain was so bad at the weekend but my granddaughter said she would bring me down anyway,” the 72-year-old grandmother said.

“I love coming along and seeing all the different stalls and getting some dulse. It reminds me of being young.”

And some had come further than others to share in the fun of the day. Eimear Spence, who is visiting her brother, Colm O'Kane, said: “I'm over here from the US and I thought I would come along and see what was happening. It's absolutely packed.”





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