Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Hollywood Fair, Wicklow ~ A Wonderful Step Back in Time

Lazing in bed on Sunday morning I was wondering what we could do for the day to spend some family time together with our five little ones. I was browsing Twitter & Facebook as you do, when I came across a post about The Hollywood Fair in Hollywood Co Wicklow. It’s a pre 1950’s themed fair held over a few of days in August each year, it’s a fantastic budget family day out as admission is only €2 for adults & free for children. Parking is also free, volunteer stewards direct you from the main road into a makeshift car park in a huge field.

The whole village is taken over with the fair; it was like walking onto a film set. Tons of people were dressed in period costumes from pensioners all the way down to babies in vintage Silver Cross prams. As you enter Hollywood the sights, sounds & smells transport you back to a bygone era. There were steam engines tooting their whistles, a huge stage was set up with a vast array of musicians continuously playing throughout the day. The Kitchen was making heaps of food including burgers (€3) & stew (€5) cooked over open fires in cast iron skillets & cauldrons. Bread making demonstrations where brown & white soda bread freshly made and baked in a turf fuelled oven in the middle of the field. Then promptly sliced & slathered with butter & jam to be handed out among the crowd.

My little ones loved the vintage cars, trucks & wagons on display. It really was a sight to behold, lots of people standing chatting having a drink or set dancing all dressed like extras from Peaky Blinders. I love getting our little ones involved in learning about our history and heritage so I actively seek out things to do with that in mind. As they say every day is a school day as the Hollywood Fair has been going on for years only half an hour from our house and I’m ashamed to say I never knew about it!

On the main road there were lots of market stalls selling everything from essential oils to wood burning stoves. The school hall was converted into a radio & telephone museum, my son Seamus (7) was thrilled when the gentleman there turned on a record player from circa 1910 & it worked perfectly. Further up the road in the main field there were demonstrations of craftsmanship from the olden days like stone cutting, basket weaving & horseshoe making.  My daughter Orla (8) insisted she needed a walking stick to be like the farmers with their sheep so we bought her one from a Gent sitting outside a beautiful little cottage for just €2.

Up the back of the town was where we found the sheep dog trials & the duck races. Old games were played in a field like toss the coin, a gold fish stall & horseshoe throwing. A sheep show and pet’s corner rounded off the day perfectly. It was such a lovely family day out I think one of the best things was that the atmosphere was fantastic with everyone in a good mood.  I know one thing for sure is that it’s going on my calendar for next year & we’re off to buy flat caps & braces for my lads.

Have you ever been to the Hollywood Fair? How did you get on? 

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