Coillte Come Home 2016
The lead in to the Coillte Come home Festival began on Thursday 14th July in the Cill Aodain hotel as the competition to crown the new King or Queen of Kiltimagh began. Families and Friends of the elected contestants gathered to cheer their Kings and Queens (literally) on. The night was a medley of music and laughter and stories as the contestants conveyed their word to the crowd as any good king or queen would to their subjects. Aiden O’Hora – a great sport and one of the true original Coillte’s was present to relinquish his crown of ??? years – which he had held since the last Coillte Come home in 83?. At the close of the night – The Votes came in and a resounding winner – Tulip Walsh Crowned the King of the Coilltes for 2016. And what a King he would be….
Friday 15th July was very wet breezy and quite balmy in Kiltimagh. No doubt there were a few that were cursing the weather as it was – it had rained all week and things were not looking good. At about 7.45 on Friday evening a shard of blue appeared in the sky above Sliabh Cairn the rain stopped the turbines slowed their pace – and so began the first Coillte Come Home Festival in ??? years. The weekend started with an almighty Tug of war between the ‘Giants’ of Kiltimagh to the delight of spectators on the street – the sound of boots skidding on the road and shouts of ‘pull’ or ‘hold’ until the best team won – the finals to be held on the following Sunday.
As the skies continued to clear the locally tailored Samba band noisily but happily led the crowd to ‘Andrews Field’ and the BIG RED BARN which was to be the focal point for the revived Festival. Crowds gathered and children awaited with bated breath as lady light began to fade. Finally with a bang the Coillte Come home 2016 was officially launched with an amazing fireworks display the like of which has not been seen for many moons in Kiltimagh.
On Saturday 16th July the people of Kiltimagh woke to a perfect day. From around noon locals and visiting athletes gathered and stretched for what was possibly one of the the main focal points of the weekend – the now well renowned ‘Race 2 Glory’. Entrants doubled on the year before no doubt because of the festival but also – numbers most certainly boosted from the success of the TV show – operation transformation – which saw many people reviving the health of their prime during the year – many had not stopped training since. The race was a huge success the skies stayed blue as family’s welcomed their loved ones in at the finish line. The streets were alive with children, their parents, A DJ, a Bouncy Castle and a barbecue for all who wanted it. Even ice baths for the brave!
At 8pm on Saturday night the publicans of the town – or their elected – gathered outside Lang’s and prepared for their own race to glory – a race down to Aiden O’Hora’s with a pint on a tray much to the delight of a cheering crowd. Saturday night in Kiltimagh was possibly one of the busiest nights the town has seen in years and many commented that they had not seen the streets so busy for as long as they could remember. The pubs in town were all busy – just like the old times – with many people meeting friends they had not seen in years. And the town living up to its name ‘where strangers become friends’ as many people visiting the town made most certainly made new friends that night. The BIG RED BARN was filled to the rafters that night to the merry sound of Robert Mizzell as old and young danced until the early hours. A summers night to be remembered in KIltimagh.
Sunday 17th was another glorious morning and the final day of the festival began at 1.30 in ‘Andrews’ field with a Teddy Bears picnic for the little ones and their family. There was plenty for the gathering crowds and their families – a carousel and amusements, bouncy castles, a farmers market, 9 hole crazy golf, a kids adventure run, a disco tent, and even a dunking tank where local ‘celebrities’ got themselves dunked in bog water just for fun. The day started in earnest with an egg and spoon race followed by a sack race for adults and children which saw many rise and fall along the way to the delight of the crowds. At 3pm the John Deere tractor run in Aid of Embrace trundled through the town. The fun really started after this with an egg throwing competition and the hilarious wife Carrying race.
The real draw of the day was surely the final of the tug of war which ended up between the Cosby’s (Cosgroves and Byrnes – Monsters all!) and the Tavern Bar. The Mighty Cosby’s victorious in the end anchored by brothers Martin and Tom Byrne. This was officially the last competition for the Coillte Come Home 2016 and only 15 minutes after the final the clouds once again gathered and the rain started – a miracle some said – a blessing the weekend stayed dry said others – but whatever the reason the weather had been perfect for our inaugural and beloved Coillte Come Home festival 2016 and we were most thankful for that. The Big Red Barn closed out the show Sunday night To local artists Mick Dundee and Ollie Burke and the band Regig as many gathered to say goodbye and have a final dance for the festival weekend – with a brief appearance by Michael Flately AKA Donal Byrne who wooed the crowd with his amazing dancing skills. And there it ended as quickly as it had come – the Coillte come home festival 2016 came to and end – and what an amazing success it was. We Truly hope the first of many amazing festivals for many years to come – so please save the date for Mid July next year – gather your family, your friends your relations, come home or visit us and be a true Coillte for a weekend…