The Dan is Back – A Welcome Return for Lyre Festival

Kay O’Leary and Joe Harrington are at the heart of the running of the highly successful Dan Paddy Andy Festival in Lyreacrompane which has just celebrated a triumphant return over the August bank holiday weekend.  ©Photograph: John Reidy
At the summit of The Hill. Siobhán Kelly from Duagh   reaches the summit of the famous hill in the Dan Paddy Andy 10k / 5k road race in Lyreacrompane and shows her delight at having conquered the challenge.

The August Bank Holiday weekend saw rural Lyreacrompane transformed into the dancing capital of Ireland – according to organising committee secretary Kay O’Leary. 

“The Dan Paddy Andy Festival Marquee was home to six bands playing for four dances in three days – eighteen hours of music and dance.

“Dan Paddy’s Hall from the 1930s to the ‘60s was never as busy as the Dan Paddy Andy Festival Marquee on that recent weekend.

“Space was at a premium as dancers, hopped, bopped, waltzed, quick-stepped, foxtrotted and line danced to the music of bands from Kerry, Cork and Derry,” said Kay.

It Wasn’t All Dancing

“The set dancers were also to the fore and exhibitions of step dancing came from Lyre’s Shauna Enright aged eight and from eighty-year-old Mossy Walsh from Lisselton. 

“But, still and all, it wasn’t all dancing. Close to one hundred people took to the highways and byways of Lyreacrompane on the Bank Holiday Sunday for a 5K/10K.

“The 10K includes the daunting ‘Collins Hill’ which the late Con Houlihan once described as a climb as challenging as any in the Tour de France.

Reaching the Summit

“All runners reached to summit and enjoyed the downhill sprint to the finish line at the marquee. It’s now becoming a badge to conquer The Hill.

“The festival bog walk still attracts and intrigues young and old.  About seventy people took part this year and availed of the opportunity of savouring ‘tae in the bog’ and how to use the sleán to cut turf in the old-fashioned way. 

“At stops along the old bog road songs were sung and all questions about things peat were answered. Thanks to the Quinn family for the use of their bog for this event.

The Dan is Back!

“The festival started with a storytelling night where humour was the order of the evening and finished with the answer to an important question – would the Dan Paddy Andy Festival survive the two years of lock-down.

“That question has been well and truly answered. Yes, the ‘Dan’ is back!  

“This real rural festival is back because of the support / attendance of so many people and the many locals who helped with the various events – especially the 5K/10K.

“Once again, thanks to all who put their shoulder to the wheel and to all the entertainers,” said Kay in conclusion.

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