Wife-carrying first at the 2017 Dalriada Festival

Strongman Chris McNaughton pictured with Rebecca McKinney at the launch of the Dalriada Festival, where NI's first 'wife-carrying' competition is to take place.
Strongman Chris McNaughton pictured with Rebecca McKinney at the launch of the Dalriada Festival, where NI's first 'wife-carrying' competition is to take place.

The most popular family festival in Ireland kicked off last night and continues this weekend in the picturesque Glens of Antrim.

Set in the beautiful surroundings of Glenarm Castle, the annual Dalriada Festival features what is believed to be Northern Ireland’s first ever wife-carrying competition, live music of various genres across eight stages, the County Antrim Pipe Band Championships and a celebrity guest.

Children’s television star Peppa Pig flew into Northern Ireland yesterday evening to make her way to Glenarm for the annual festival.

Festival Director Adrian Morrow said: “We have eight different music stages with all different genres of music – jazz, country and western, ulster scots, swing – it’s all in there. There’s something for everybody to get your toes going.

“We’ve got our own beef here, described as the best beef in the world and normally only available over in the hotels and restaurants over in London, but this weekend you can try it yourself in Glenarm - which is where it was born and brought up on the grass.

“It is a special wee event that covers a wide variety of stuff, set in a lovely parkland and a very historic, beautiful grounds. The castle’s open for tours as well and so are the gardens so it’s well worth taking a run down.”

Mr Morrow added: “We are hoping to get 18,000 each day. The big attraction this year is Peppa Pig.”

Ireland’s favourite country star, Nathan Carter got proceedings underway last night. The Fureys and Dublin City Ramblers are just some more of the festival’s music offerings today and tomorrow.

The community of Glenarm will take up the baton from July 17, hosting an action-packed programme of sporting events and other entertainment including a duathlon, triathlon, super-endurocross, rowing regatta and mountain bike enduro race.

Nigel Campbell, Events and Marketing Manager for Glenarm Castle, said: “When people hear that Dalriada Festival is launching, they know summer is on its way! There’s already a great buzz about our festival locally and further afield.

“Having the official Peppa Pig characters for the first time in County Antrim is a real coup and there’s so much more to enjoy with the eight music stages and comedy house.”

He continued: “We haven’t forgotten our good food- loving visitors as the fine food courtyard will be serving up our own short-horn beef, which is farmed at Glenarm and recently won supreme overall champion at the prestigious Great Taste Awards in London.

“There’s certainly something for all the family with lots more entertainment for the children, crafts and shopping, live wrestling and our sheep fashion shows and companion dog competition.”