Locals flock to Lamb Festival launch

Minister Naughten kicks off 10th edition

The crowds flocked to Aras an Chontae last Friday for the launch of the Roscommon Lamb Festival – a couple of lambs were even granted admission to the plush new County Council offices for the occasion.

  This year’s festival – the tenth instalment –was officially kicked off by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten.

  Minister Naughten was full of praise for the organisers and highlighted some of the many events taking place throughout the festival during his address.

  “It’s something very distinctive about County Roscommon. It’s something that we should be very proud of and it’s great to see it’s gone from strength to strength over the last ten years. That’s down to the work that’s been put in by Gerry Browne as the chairperson and the volunteers on the committee and all of the people who have helped out in relation to this event right down through the years,” he said.

  Minister Naughten added that one of the event’s strengths was that it showcased the entire county. He said that “it’s not just about farming, it’s not just about food, it’s not just about heritage; there’s always something else added in. I think it’s a great showcase of what we have in County Roscommon.”

  Chairman Gerry Browne paid tribute to friends of the festival who had gone to their eternal reward including Geraldo ‘Toko’ Marques, Paddy Coffey and Oliver Burke, before acknowledging the ten-year milestone. “So it’s our tenth birthday. Looking back, a very short ten years. We look forward to 2027 and it seems like an awful long time. But time passes very quickly and it’s how we use our time that matters.”

  He continued: “With thanks to John Hanley, our festival will be opened at the mart (Roscommon) on the Wednesday by Joe Healy, President of the IFA, and at that stage, Mark Feeley will have a new life-sized sculpture of a ewe and lamb to unveil.”

  Mr. Browne also highlighted some of the events scheduled to take place over the May Bank Holiday weekend with the festival set to culminate in a family fun day on Sunday, April 30th.

  Jerry Fallon was the jovial MC for what was an entertaining curtain-raiser to this year’s lamb festival. The final two speakers on the night were Roscommon IFA Chairman, John Hanley, and Will Keane, local farmer and community activist.

  Mr. Hanley was full of praise for the organisers and said he was looking forward to attending as many events as possible.

  “Out of small acorns, grow big oaks, Gerry. I think you have to be complimented, and the committee, for what you’ve done not just for the town of Roscommon but for the county of Roscommon over the last ten years,” he said, before paying tribute to the work of local organisers.

  Will Keane provided details of an online crowdfunding campaign to pay for the lifesize sculpture of a ewe and lamb by local stonemason Mark Feeley. The sculpture is set to be unveiled on the opening day of the Roscommon Lamb Festival at Roscommon Mart.

  The tenth annual Roscommon Lamb Festival will be held from Wednesday, April 26th to Monday, May 1st.