By John Carney
YOU COULD never call Joe Mahon shy when it comes to promoting the Lady of the Lake Festival that begins on Friday, but this year he’s looking a bit sheepish.
The driving force behind Irvinestown’s annual summer showpiece has brought back an old favourite – the World Sheep Dung Spitting contest – and he’s sure it’s not a crappy idea.
“In the book Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, there are a few pages on the first sheep dung spitting competition we did in 2015, and there is a German TV show about unusual events around the world. They read about the competition (in the book) and contacted me to see if we were doing it again this year,” Mr Mahon explained.
“I said we were, so they’re coming over with a TV crew to do a programme on it and the presenter Oliver Polak is going to take part in it. He’ll be our first German entrant.”
Considering the dirty business he is about to take part in, Mr Polak, who is also a German comedian, may have to change his name to Hans Boggin after tackling the filthy task.
It’s not a challenge for the fainthearted either. One entrant, Paddy McCann, once spat his dung 12 feet with his dentures in, but when told to remove them and give it another go, he ended up eating the nasty nugget.
Last held in 2019, the popular festival returns for the 43rd year. Its traditional blend of fun and games is sure to please locals and tourists alike. The World Sheep Dung Spitting contest will be part of the always enjoyable Fair Day on Wednesday, July 13, at the Castle Irvine Estate, Necarne.
The festival theme is “Back with a Big Bang”, which also refers to Now That’s What I Call Science’s interactive show on Friday, July 8, at 11am, and Mr Mahon is sure visitors will not find the sheep dung spitting hard to swallow.
“The German crew is going to film around Fermanagh on Monday and Tuesday, then film the sheep dung spitting on Wednesday,” Mr Mahon said. “It’ll be good publicity for the festival, but good publicity for Fermanagh as well, as the programme will be televised in Germany and should encourage tourists to come to the county.”
After enduring two depressing years of Covid misery, the festival is sure to bring a big smile to people’s faces.
“The general reaction of people is that they’re happy that the festival is happening again and they’re looking forward to it,” Mr Mahon said.
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