Mayo Day festival celebrations hit West Yorkshire

Mayo Day festival celebrations hit West Yorkshire

AN Otley pub will host the town’s first ever Mayo Day festival today - to raise money to erect a statue of a Great Famine hero.

The Manor House pub in West Yorkshire - named after the home of local hero Thomas Constable – kicks off a celebratory day of music and dance this afternoon.

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

The pub's Irish owners, David and Eileen Stefan, will be joined by singer Alexander, who kicks off the live music from 5pm, before five-piece acoustic folk band Summercross take over at 7.30pm.

Headlining the event is another Irish folk band, The Beercats, from 9pm onwards.

The day will also feature a set by the River Wharf School of Irish Dancing, who performed at The Manor House during its St Patrick’s Day celebrations in March.

Mr Stefan explained: “We will be raising the roof this bank holiday. The whole of the Irish community in Otley are looking forward to our Mayo Day weekend and not just those with Mayo roots.

“We have lots of exciting entertainment planned, from Irish dancing to live music, so let’s make this the best Mayo Day Festival celebration in Yorkshire!"

Most of the bands taking part in today's event will donate 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.

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

Launched by Mayo County Council, Mayo Day officially falls today (May 2) and offers the Mayo diaspora worldwide a chance to celebrate their roots.