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Listowel Races

Each year, for as long as I can remember, I have been making my way down to "The Island". This is the place whre all the action is for six days in the familiar surroundings of Listowel Racecourse.

On approaching the island each day I am greeting by chants of "Throw me down something" from traveller children standing waist deep in the river. Their younger sisters and brothers are playing the harmonica on the safety of the bank. I try to doge the droves of peopple heading fo rthe Racecourse. People pass comments on th women passing in their Races outfits as the clink clank along in high hells. Each lady is more fashionable than the next. They show off their strange colourful hats with matching outfits, worn in the hope that their name will be picked out as "The Best dressed Lady".

On the racecourse people are chatting with old friends who went their separate ways many years ago and are now reunited fo rth eraces. They boast about what they have been doing fo rthe past few years. Eventually they admit that they have come back to taste the magic once again. The bookies are buzzing with activity. Confident men are placing bets and jockeys are nervously coaxing well groomed horses into beying their master.

The race begins. The stand is overflowin gwith peole. I cannot move without being scolded by my elders who are engrossed in the race. Male and femal eyes watch attentively through binoculars. The horses pass the stand and roars of differeent horse's names are heard.

It's by no means a cheap day out. Besides being overcharged for sweets, one rarely wins in every race. As the day draws to a close, the punters leave in dribs and drabs, some bragging about how muc they have won. Others, the less lucky ones leave, saying "There's always another day". The fun and laughter does not stop there though. The day could never finish without a trip to the colourful lights and rides of Bird's amusements. Children nag their parents for money to spend on rides whose price seems to soar higher with each passing year, the air is filled with excitement. Young children scream as another ride whizzes past. If you had not suandered all your money on the Races you would be sure to lose every last penny you had at the amusements. The atmosphere is inexplicable. It is a time filled with craic and spraoi.

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