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18 July 2011

The Macnas Parade

Despite being the middle of July and the middle of summer the sunshine here in Galway lasted only a day and a half last week - it is bloody cold and now it has started raining again! That awful light misty rain that get's everywhere and leaves you soaked before you know it. On Friday evening I went out to see the new Harry Potter movie and it was raining when we got out of the theatre - I arrived home to find that my mascara is far from waterproof and that I had great dark panda-eyes. Luckily though it did not rain yesterday much because I think that they would not postpone a parade for the sake of a bit of rain here, and I really wanted to see this one. It is a part of the Arts festival and I missed it last year, though I heard from another spectator's comment that this was the best one yet so that's good. It is not just a parade but also a huge dramatic performance with some big idea behind (which I really did not follow at all, but this year I think it was a little abstract), music, a lot of people dancing and acting and some loud fireworks. Macnas means 'joyful abandonment' (so I have just learnt) and has been around for about 25 years. The costumes were really amazing!


Like I said above, I'm not really sure what the story was supposed to be this year - there was a lot of noise and a lot of smoke from the fireworks so it was difficult to listen to anything that the people in the floats were saying. There were some really good drummers, and lot's of people on stilts, those curved bouncy sort. I was of course as near to the road as possible taking photos, as I do, and the stilted people have a bad habit of leaning over and getting so in your face that you worry they will fall down. A lot of the small children seemed to not enjoy it so much, it was a bit loud and scary.


At one point, I think just ahead of these guys on stilts with the animal masks, there were some girls all dressed in silver dancing around. They did an OK job at pretending to do ballet, except that they were clearly trying to dance in synchronisation and one of the girls at the back was so terribly off, the rest of the group would have already landed before she even began her jump or leap. Again though, the costumes were great.


So at some point, between these two floats I think it was, one of the costumed people decided that of all the spectators I was a good one to be picked on. This guy was covered in face make up to make him look all wrinkly and flaky, like his skin was coming off, and he had a big cape on I think. I don't really remember because I did not actually get a good look at him, the first thing I knew was this face coming closer and closer and then instead of backing off this demon-guy spread his cape, grabbed me and dragged me out into the parade. He was really strong too so there was nothing I could do, I struggled futilely but could not get away while random other spectators took photos of me. My own friends did not see in time to get a picture, because next thing you know he lets me go and I rush back to my place, only now I was not so keen to be standing so close to the parade.


The parade was good but it seemed to end very quickly. It ended with another ear-splitting bang and then the crowds began to dissipate. There is another week of the Arts festival but I doubt I will make the most of it seeing as I am not so culturally inclined - I would have liked to see the acrobatics show but it sold out before I even had the chance to consider getting a ticket. I would very much like to get some working helping in the costume department for next year's Macnas parade. For now however I must work a bit harder, I did well this morning and now it is lunchtime, I must try to not procrastinate after lunch seeing as I must meet with the ole' supervisor tomorrow. So I will leave you with the lasting impression of what appears to be a rhino in a wheelchair:

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