By Simon Cocking
CAPE Clear island is looking forward to its busiest weekend of the year with the hosting of the Storytelling Festival, from Friday August 31st to Sunday September 2nd.
‘It is like a second August Bank Holiday for us,’ said Mairtin Ó Mealoid, manager of the Cape Clear Co-operative and director of the Cape Clear Distillery.
This year marks the first time in 23 years that it will not have its founding members Chuck and Nell Kruger present after their departure from Cape last year to new pastures.
Catriona Leonard of Cape Clear B&B and Lindy Davies of Cape Clear Yurts both said that bookings for their accomodation are often registered up to a year in advance, by return visitors.
‘People don’t believe us when we tell them we have been booked up since the year before!’ said Catriona. Lindy added: ‘It is our biggest event of the year, and attendance is not affected by the weather. Though last year we did have to go around the campsite and make sure all the tent pegs were securely banged in, as there was a storm on the Saturday night.’
Despite the departure of the Krugers, Diarmuid Ó Drisceoil will provide local representation as he reprises his annual MC-ing of the gala event, with acerbic asides that alone are worth hearing.
Ó Drisceoil, performer and local organiser, says visitors need to closely examine the festival programme to make sure they don’t miss anything. ‘The complete event programme is viewable via the event website and has an interesting mix of returning favourites and fresh new faces. The five featured storytellers include regular performers such as Cork local hero John Spillane, Czenge Zalka from Hungary, Lyn Ford from the USA, Daniel Morden from Wales, and Irish storyteller Joe Brennan.
‘It’s a great event and brings some interesting and diverse people to the island from all over the world,’ explained Fiona MacLachlan, MaraFarm coffee shop owner. The island fills up long before and after the event, agreed Seamus who is also the Cape Clear Ferries manager. ‘We see many more people on the ferry for several days, either side of the weekend.’
Every year brings an interesting mix of new and old visitors to the island and it will be a welcome conclusion to the impressive summer weather of 2018.
‘It’s a great event for the island for all 52 weeks of the year, as it raises awareness about our island all over the world,’ commented Neil O’Regan, owner of an Siopa Beag.