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Raheny Festival 2011

This is the first year of the Raheny Festival. It is organised by the Raheny Business Association and sponsored by local businesses.

Raheny is lucky in that it retains a village core. Locals do a lot of their shopping and business in the village centre and this builds up a certain sense of local identity. This is what the Festival is designed to capture and celebrate. And from this point of view it was a roaring success.

It was centred on two locations: (i) the village centre itself, in the carpark in front of the Watermill pub, and, directly across the road, in the carpark in front of AIB at the Supervalu complex; and (ii) the public park bordered by the Howth Road, Wade's Avenue, All Saints' Drive and the grounds of All Saints' Church.

It also included a historical tour of the old Raheny graveyard and the ruins of the old St. Assam's church.

Preparations began at 11am for a 2pm opening. Needless to say, planning had been going on for months, and it showed.

By 2pm the stands and activities were all ready and there were people all over the place.

Watermill Car Park

The Watermill Steakhouse, formerly the Green Dolphin, is one of three pubs in Raheny village centre. Anne Kelly is taking orders with a big smile and a cool pair of shades.

Dental advice from Dr Ó Seachnasaí's team.

Smyth's, newly refurbished family butchers, holding their own.

Garden design, also available through the Blackbanks Garden Centre.

Weekly country markets are now held in the hall at All Saints' Church. All sorts of home made produce.

McHughs, previously known for their off-licences, have now branched out into the restaurant business opposite the Ceders pub.

The village has been without a hardware store since the closure of the very popular Raheny Hardware. Expert Hardware have now taken over a former audio premises in the village and offer to order anything they haven't got to hand.

River Café is located in the main Supervalu carpark and does a fairly brisk trade during the day.

Station House pub also serves food. This was the old Manhattan.

And time to meet up with old friends. Barry used to run the post office, as did his family before him. He had to pack it in some years ago after a tiger raid. It is now located in Supervalu and can make that store very crowded betimes.

Near FM is our local northside radio station. It broadcasts a wide variety of material provided by local staff. It camped onsite for the duration of the festival and added to the colour and attraction of the occasion.

The Public Park

The Public Park was an absolute Aladdin's cave for children. And the atmosphere there was great.

The slide was a great favourite for the very young.

As were the bouncing castles.

All the children's activities were very heavily stewarded and supervised.

Face painting always goes down well even though it sometimes scarifies the subject when they look in the mirror.

I haven't seen a sack race for years. Always great fun. Mind you, in my day the sacks weren't coloured.

The joy of winning.

A budding Ronnie Delany?

No lack of effort.

Beaten by the ball. Youngsters get a chance to practice and show off their goalkeeping skills. The kicker didn't hold back and you could hear the thump when the goalie made a save, which they did a lot of the time

This yellow snake was just one of the inhabitants of the Reptile Zoo.

This is an alltime favourite. Pulling the bricks from the bottom and placing them on the top without toppling the tower. Takes a lot of concentration, hand and eye coordination, and just plain luck.

AIB Car Park

The smaller car park at AIB also had its share of stalls.

Professional dog grooming and all its accoutrements.

Children's entertainment providers Ka Boom.

Hampers of every sort.

More dental advice.

Vicky takes a break from her Supervalu duties to show her massage skills at the Walmer College.

Enjoying her work.

This antique van outside Supervalu is dispensing free hot sausages.

St. Assam's Church & Graveyard

St. Assam's old church and graveyard are normally closed to the public. They were briefly opened during the festival for a historical tour conducted by Sandra Dargan (née Grant), a local lady member of the Raheny Heritage Society. The Society has done marvellous work in researching and documenting various aspects of Raheny's history and has published some of this in booklet form. The Society also organises talks in the local library on matters of interest to local and family historians.

Sandra holds the crowd's attention as she recounts the history of the church and graveyard.

The eastern gable is the highest point of the church now remaining.

The western face has almost completely gone, allowing you to see the newer St. Assam's RC church, which has in turn given way to the yet newer RC church across the road (belltower and east side of roof in right of picture).

Surgeon major John Grogan is buried here (1866).

As are the Segraves.

You can look down on The Inn through the window aperture in the east gable.

Music @ Watermill

The festival was rounded off with live music provided by FLINCH who, I am told, are a local group. They were extremely good and encouraged participation by an enthusiastic audience which spanned all ages and tastes, including those availing of pints of beer from the Watermill.

My bones have just about stopped vibrating from the mega-sound which penetrated my very soul as I took the photos below from within inches of the group's monster loudspeakers. Enjoy.


There was a very low key Garda presence at the festival in both of the main locations (cycle and foot patrols). Thankfully, it proved completely redundant, as far as I know. The stewarding was intensive, and rightly so, particularly for an event where very young children were involved. Considerable traffic management was also required to ensure a free flow of traffic through the village and minimal disruption to businesses, Advance Tyre being a particular case in point.

I understand there were 60 stewards organised in advance of the occasion, many of whom were from the local sports organisations and had extensive experience of stewarding. The 60 were augmented by others who volunteered on the day. In the event, stewarding was first class. Take a bow Barry Murphy, Raheny Business Association's co-ordinator. And don't forget Barry's poster which was displayed in most public and commercial locations in the village after the festival.

The first post-summer edition of Raheny News (6/11/11) was enthused with the festival. "We all felt it; people were talking to each other, laughing, engaging with their neighbour. Queues were long in some instances due to the popularity of some attractions; but people were content to wait - thanks to the sun and the chat. We all slowed down a notch or two; All Saints Road was like a country market town - we knew each other, in some cases we hadn't realised we knew so many. People were siting on walls in the village, sharing their spoils; enjoying the food and the easy banter, listening to the lively music courtesy of local group Flinch."

Special Guest

It would be churlish not to mention the day's special guest in the form of the real presence. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament had been organised for the weekend, whether by chance or otherwise.
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