We didn’t even know about it until a few days ago, but every year around this time Irvine holds a 12 day festival known as “Marymass”. I’m not quite sure about the origins of the festival; the name suggests a link with the Virgin Mary and a bit of googling confirms this, but there don’t seem to be any religious overtones now. If anything, it’s more of a fusion of pagan and country tradition.
Regardless, there’s folk singing, parades, strange contests (greasy pole climbing and “duck races” anyone?), a festival of light procession and a firework display. We quite fancied the festival of light and the fireworks, but these are hardly suitable for doggies, so much of the day was spent getting them nice and tired out so that they’d happily nap through the distant bangs & whizzes in the evening. We took them for a long walk on Irvine moor – the site of the firework display – and gave them lots of play time in the garden.
As the evening grew closer they could tell from our preparations that something was afoot, but they still managed to get themselves thoroughly tired out and happily went into their crates for a sound nap. As soon as they were settled, we headed off to Irvine moor.
Earlier in the day the moor had been empty save for a lone van and a guy slowly assembling the firework gear, but now the area was buzzing with people, music and fairground activities. As darkness started to fall people lined the streets around the moor, and the fairground music gave way to the drummers in the festival of light procession.
Almost as soon as the procession ended, the firework display began. A selection of well chosen Jean Michel Jarre tracks came booming out of the loudspeakers, and the sky lit up:
It was really, really impressive. Of course once it was over we had to find our way back across the moor to our car in pitch darkness. Fortunately there were plenty of young Jedis ready to illuminate the path with their lightsabres.
When we got home there were no obvious signs that Beanie Biggles had been distressed by the fireworks, but they did greet us very enthusiastically. Beanie put her paws up on our shoulders and kissed us both, and Biggles wagged furiously. It was late, but we couldn’t really put them back to bed without a little something to chew on…