Olden Ways Festival on Whiddy Island

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Whiddy islanders are inviting visitors to celebrate the island’s past with a weekend of activities at the island’s Olden Ways Festival (11th-12th July).

Whiddy gained national coverage this year with the broadcast of TV3’s acclaimed Islanders series. The show, which gained nationwide acclaim, focused on a year in the life of islanders Tim and Danny O’Leary, and generated a lot of interest in island life today and its links to traditions inherited from other generations.

“Visitors often ask us questions about what life was like here in the past”, explains Tim O’Leary of the Whiddy Island Development Association. “We’ve put a lot of work in over the last few years to explore our own history. Last year’s memorial to the American airman who lost his life in a World War One seaplane accident here helped people to get a sense of the way the island has interacted with the outside world. ”

“But there’s a lot of curiosity too about the day-to-day lives people would have lived here on the island, and that’s why we’ve come up with the idea of holding this Olden Ways Festival. It’s going to be great to help people find out about the way life was lived here in the past, and the traditions and customs that have survived to the present time.”

Over the festival weekend, demonstrations will show people how islanders made cradles, and mended lobster pots, and there’ll be opportunities to learn about the island’s military history, rowing regattas, turf-cutting, and church traditions too. On Sunday, a guided walk will tour the island, visiting the old schoolhouse, farms, and Whiddy’s Napoleonic batteries. Visitors will also have the chance to hear stories about the island’s characters, and what life was like when the island had a population of 800 people.

All festival activities are free. The ferry price is €5 return from Bantry. For more details, see http:/westcorkislands.com/calendar or contact Tim O’Leary (086) 862 6734

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