Castlecomer Wellie Race
Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny
This annual event is a long standing fixture on the New Year calendar and must rank as one of the most unusual events in Ireland. At the heart of the festivities is the Wellie race, in which competitors race over a 5km circuit of roads wearing Wellingtons, aka Wellies, aka gumboots.
The wellies must be standard unaltered issue – not the best footwear for running, but it is quite a sight to see hundreds of runners lined up suitably shod at the start of the race.
Many of those taking part wear costumes also, but there are also those who take the race very seriously, in spite of the nonchalant demeanour, and it is hotly contested
The race is preceded by a parade through the streets of Castlecomer with floats created by local businesses and community groups, often on topical themes.
The race has been taking place annually since 1981 and it is a very friendly and great fun event to visit, with lots of fun for all members of the family and overseas visitors – especially those brave enough to don their wellies and take part! – made very welcome.