Stylish Silage organisers couldn’t wish for better wrap

The organisers of this year’s Stylish Silage event in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, couldn’t wish for a better outcome.

The sun shone, entries increased and visitor numbers to the area surged for the contest – which is part of An Tostal Festival.

This year’s festival took place from July 1 to 7 and Mayo-based business McHale was the competition sponsor.

Creativity abounded in the 70 entries in this year’s competition, with a wishing well created by the Nugent family taking the coveted top prize.

The judges praised it for its realism and attention to detail. “During adjudication, the judges walked by the well, looking for the bales, so realistic was it,” said Hugh James Gallagher, An Tostal Festival chairman.

The judges picked 12 entries to go to a vote on July 7 in the Lough Allen Hotel.

The runner-up prize went to ‘the mart delivery’ from the McKeon family. A depiction of a teddy bear brought third prize to the McDonagh family.

Hugh James expressed delight with this year’s competition which saw an additional 20 entries as well as increased prize money.

There was a lovely friendly rivalry in the run-up to the competition where everyone helped each other out with their bales. Everybody stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Drumshanbo.

“When the winners were announced, all contestants congratulated them and were delighted for them.

“There was a huge turnout for the vote. The contest has been a huge success again this year, with visitors from all over the country flocking to the area to look at the bales,” he said.

Generating additional visitors to the area was on the organisers’ wish list.

RTE’s Six One news did a report on the contest and local businesses reported an upturn in sales. On the Sunday, one person remarked that there was an average of 12 groups an hour visiting their bales throughout the day,” said Hugh James.

“I met people from Cork who stayed in the area for the week and have booked again for next year. The hotel was booked out, I’m told. The good weather made a big difference.

There are a lot of people visiting the bales still and they are going to be left up until the end of July, depending on how they hold their shape.

Meanwhile, the organising committee already has its sights set on next year’s event and wish to build on the success of the contest.

“We will start to plan next year’s festival in the coming weeks,” said Hugh James.