Great turnout for Otley's first Mayo Day celebrations
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Great turnout for Otley's first Mayo Day celebrations

OVER 600 people attended Otley’s inaugural Mayo Day celebrations on Saturday for an “absolutely fantastic” night of music and dancing.

The Manor House pub in West Yorkshire – named after the home of local Great Famine hero Thomas Constable – hosted the festival.

The pub’s Irish owner David Stephan said that the event, aimed at raising funds to erect a statute in Mr Constable’s honour, collected £360 on the day.

Mr Stephan told The Irish Post: “It was a truly fantastic night, there was such a great response from the community. The pub was chock-a-block, many people turned up but couldn’t get to the bar, it was so full.

“We had people turn up from Mayo and from Leeds Irish Centre, it was great. The Manor would like to thank the Otley community for turning out in such great numbers and for their support in raising money for the statue of our local unsung hero.

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"It goes without saying, Mayo Day in Otley was a complete success and we promise to make it even bigger and better next year!"

The family-friendly festivities kicked off with a set by the River Wharf School of Irish Dancing, who previously performed at The Manor House during its St Patrick’s Day celebrations in March.

Singer Alexander kicked off the live music at 5pm, before five-piece acoustic folk band Summercross took over at 7.30pm.

Headlining the event, Irish folk band The Beercats entertained guests from 9pm onwards - with celebrations running into the early hours of the morning.

The event commemorated Mr Constable, the Otley solicitor who saved hundreds of lives by arranging jobs and homes for people who arrived in the town during the Great Famine period, having fled their homes in Ballina and Kiltimagh in Co. Mayo.

All of the bands who took part in Saturday’s event donated their fees to the Thomas Constable Statue Fund, which was launched on St Patrick’s Day in 2014 by Otley MP Greg Mulholland and former Mayor Ray Smith.

Mr Smith also led a council delegation to Ballina in Co. Mayo 2011 with local historian Chris Power.

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The pub’s Mayo Day Festival was one of a series of events taking place across the globe last weekend, promoting Ireland’s biggest county in the west of Ireland.

Launched by Mayo County Council, Mayo Day offered the Mayo diaspora worldwide a chance to celebrate their roots.