Super 8 Stories: The Lammas Fair





1950s, 1960s



04min 05sec




Super 8





BBC NI, Columb McBride, Doubleband Films, Robert Graham, Stanley Matchett

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Columb McBride, Doubleband Films, Robert Graham, Stanley Matchett

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The Lammas Fair in Ballycastle is an important tradition in the Northern Ireland calender and much-loved to this day. With the help of several amateur film-makers, and interviews with some of the children who attended it annually, we are able to look back on the hey-day of the fair during the 1950s and 60s with its traditions of farming markets, fun rides, Yellow Man sweets and dulce seeweed. This clip appeared in Series 3, Programme 2 of 'Super 8 Stories'.


Now a recipient of the MBE for his work in newspaper photography, Stanley Matchett was a civil engineer at the time he began to take an interest in movie making saying that the “home movies experience helped me break into professional photo journalism”. He had originally been motivated to take up movie making by “a love of the cinema. Watching how the pros made images fascinated me and I wanted to have a go myself”. Armed with a Bolex Standard 8 camera Stanley became a member of the busy YMCA Photographic Society in Belfast. Recalling the days of showing movies at home Stanley says, “A home movie show was a must every Christmas. The fact that there was no soundtrack did not seem to matter at all”. It is a tradition he sometimes repeats today but adds: “I must say, setting up the screen and projector stand can be a chore – it never was in the old days!” Nowadays Stanley has a record of his old movies on modern formats and continues to record using video cameras. “Most of the films are now transferred to VHS format, although the family still prefer the large screen. Oddly enough I do not own a video camcorder. However, I often borrow my daughter’s Panasonic which is an amazing little camera”. Stanley has a great fondness for the movies he filmed and speaks with enthusiasm for the whole process of movie making. “’The moment lives on because someone took a picture’ was an old Kodak slogan. Personal movie films go one step better by adding movement. Watching a relative on screen is much more personal than looking at a still picture. Now video cameras can add sound and the memory comes to life. It’s strange for a still photographer to say this but there is no better way of capturing a moment or an occasion than on movie – a still picture is fine, but with the addition of movement and sound there is no contest!” The Ould Lammas Fair: A traditional fair held in Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland every year on the last Monday and Tuesday of August. It is associated with the Lammas harvest festival. The fair has been running for around 400 years, dating back as far as the 17th century. Traditional goods sold at the fair include the 'Yellowman' honeycomb and dulse, a form of seaweed.

Shot List

Crowds of people in Ballycastle streets and poster for Lammas Fair. Sheep in pen, people selling from stalls and children walking through the market. More shots of various stalls. Farming market with sheep, horses and donkeys. Close-ups of yellow man being broken up and sold. More shots of stalls including man sanding on platform trying to sell ornament. Funfair rides and swings for children.


Narrator: Maire Jones; Programme Accountant: Anne Hegarty; Production Assistant: Gillian Halliday; Camera: Michael Quinn; Sound: Paul Maynes; Music Consultants: Jim Meredith, Ralph McLean; Graphics: Alan Perry; Dubbing: One Zero Zero; Researcher: Ben Price; Archivist: Evan Marshall; Assistant Producer: Jenny Waugh; Editors: Sharon McCourt, Paul Devlin; Executive Producers: Alex Johnston, Michael Hewitt; Producer: Diarmuid Lavery; Director: Brian Henry Martin



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