Huge line-up for all the family at Ballygar Carnival

Ballygar Carnival is back in full swing, having been run under limitations due to Covid the past two years. With music events, visual arts performances, sporting events, kids’ entertainment and much, much more in store, there is sure to be something for everyone at the 78th Ballygar Carnival


Thursday (28th)

This year’s carnival kicks off with a cooking demonstration by renowned chef Rachel Allen. Ollie Turner will be Master of Ceremonies for the evening and Rachel has a fantastic menu prepared. There will also be amazing stalls present on the night, where Irish food traders will be selling high quality produce from many Irish farms and stores. Tickets for the event are available on the door or can be purchased before the event. Contact Ballygar Carnival committee members for more details.

Local DJ Ronan Mockler will kick off the music that night with an over-18s disco in the Mattie McDonagh Centre. The doors open at 11.30 pm, with disco beginning at 12 am. Cost of admission is €10.


Friday (29th)

Friday sees the first of the carnival sporting events take place, with the U-11 Carnival Cup (hosted by St Brendan’s Football Club) kicking off in the New GAA Pitch at 6.30 pm.

The Ballygar Carnival Committee is also delighted to reintroduce the tradition of Beat on the Street, which takes place from 9 pm on the outdoor stage with DJ Ray O’Reilly.

In the centre, Friday will see performances from The Big Ideas Band and The Odd Sox! These two local bands promise a great night of entertainment and craic and are looking forward to making their first appearance on the main stage at Ballygar Carnival! Doors open at 11 am, and the show starts at 12 am. The cost of admission is €10.


Saturday (30th)

Saturday kicks off with the Ballygar Hurling Club and Michael Brennan Memorial Tournament, which will take place from 10 am until 3 pm with the U-11s and U-13s. Michael Brennan was a well-loved trainer and mentor for many young hurlers in Ballygar, and the carnival committee are honoured to host this event in his memory.

The day’s sporting events will continue at 2 pm in the Niall Walsh Pitch with the annual carnival soccer tournament. Then, from 4.30 pm until 6.30 pm, the annual Mary Lohan Memorial Tournament will take place in the new GAA pitch, which will include a fun seven-a-side tournament involving former players, mothers ‘n’ others, and the intermediate panel.

Saturday will also see a display of 1921 memorabilia take place from 12 pm to 5 pm in Ballygar’s old school. This will include a slide show of material prepared by local historian Paul Connolly.

For nature lovers, Saturday will see ecologist Gordon D’Arcy lead a nature walk and talk as part of the carnival events. Gordon will also launch the newly-erected signs in Aghrane forest, which contain information on local history and the flora and fauna of the forest.

Adding to Saturday’s host of activities, a poetry event is set to take place in the courthouse at 5 pm, presented by Margaret Hannigan Popp. The event will focus on Ballygar, and will feature short films, multimedia, readings and creative writing research, as well as poetry. It promises to be a very enjoyable event, and admission is free.

Local musician and artist Stephen Blake will bring the town to life on Saturday evening, performing at 9 pm on the carnival outdoor stage along the Main Street. The committee is greatly looking forward to welcoming Stephen back to the stage after his outstanding performance last year.

To close Saturday’s events, the one and only Mike Denver will take to the main stage in the Mattie McDonagh Centre, bringing us an amazing show of top quality country and western entertainment. The doors open at 11.30 pm, starting at 12 am, and the cost of admission is €20.


Sunday (31st)

The weekend’s events continue on Sunday morning with the carnival’s 5km and 10km Fun Run in Aghrane forest. The run begins at the gazebo at the forest entrance, and the cost of entry is €5.

Following the run, Sunday’s carnival events will continue throughout the day, with lots in store for younger attendees. The annual Children’s Fancy Dress competition will take place at 4 pm, with many prizes up for grabs in different categories. Then, at 5 pm, the centre will host the Jack Wise Stage Show. Jack is a ventriloquist, sword swallower, magician, mind reader and comedian, and it is his first time performing at Ballygar Carnival. Admission is free and he is sure to provide an unforgettable stage show, so it is not to be missed! Following last year’s great success, the Children’s Treasure Trail is back, beginning at 6 pm at the Mattie McDonagh Centre. There will also be face-painting and balloon modelling at the bandstand from 8 pm.

Sunday will also see the return of the Ballinasloe Town Band, who will perform outside St Mary’s Church from 7 pm. This band have performed in Ballygar for our carnival parade in 2019 and again for Ballygar Culture Night at the bandstand in September 2019.

Sunday’s festivities will continue into the evening, with Sabrina Fallon and Shane Moore taking to the street for a great line-up of entertainment from 8.30 pm. This will be Shane and Sabrina’s debut performance at the Ballygar Carnival outdoor stage, and it is sure to be fantastic.

From 9 pm outside St Mary’s Church there will be a multi-prop illuminated LED performance presented by the high-energy circus group Renegade Rascals. This Dublin-based group are guaranteed to light up the town and give a great show.

Following this, at 10 pm the group will be joined by the Hit Machine Drummers, the biggest and most energetic drumming group in the country. They will coordinate with the Renegade Rascals as they perform a spectacular fire show that truly is not to be missed.

Sunday will close with a debut performance at Ballygar Carnival by Abbaesque, Ireland’s number one Abba Tribute band. Their success over the last 21 years has been phenomenal and it promises to be an amazing night of entertainment. Doors are at 11.30 pm and the show starts at 12.30 am. The cost of admission is €15.


Monday & Tuesday (1st & 2nd of August)

Following on from a Bank Holiday Weekend chock-full of family fun – and Monday’s Fair Day (see separate article) – the final day of Ballygar Carnival will take place on Tuesday, kicking off with a presentation on Ballygar’s Heritage Audit, presented by heritage consultant Zena Hector. This talk will present an overview of the local heritage of Ballygar and surrounding areas. It begins at 2 pm in the courthouse and admission is free. This audit was carried out in association with Ballygar Tidy Towns and will be available online and in hard copy.

To close out the carnival, the annual Monster Bingo Night will take place at 8.30 pm in the Mattie McDonagh Centre. There will be a jackpot of €1,500 on the night with many other brilliant prizes to be won. Single books cost €10, double books cost €15, and flyers are €2.