The new festival proved a great success. Pic: Richie Tyndall

THE first ever Random Acts of Kindness festival that took place in Clonakilty recently was hugely successful.

More than 1,000 people gathered on Connolly Street from 6.30pm on the Friday evening for the opening event which was a bubble blowing ceremony.

People of all ages took part and some fantastic photographs were captured.

This was followed by music by StanZa Traffic, Ré Nua and B Positives.

Lettercollum Kitchen Project fed hundreds of the festival goers with two paella dishes while Jamboree carried out face-painting and balloon making.

Lord Mayor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin tries his hand at bubble blowing. Pic: Anna Groniecka

Saturday saw a Sports Day at the Showgrounds and a Voluntary Showcase and Speakers Corner at O’Donovan’s Hotel.

Just after talking at Speakers Corner, Sean Kelly MEP and former President of the GAA spoke to the John Murray show on RTÉ Radio One.

He said, “I think it’s fantastic, it’s the beginning of something of something new. It’s saying let’s put the human spirit and the spirit of Clonakilty to the fore, let work together and make our community better”.

The Clonakilty Rugby Club joined forces with the Clonakilty Tidy Towns and carried out two cleaning projects; one on some St. Vincent de Paul houses and one on the Inchydoney Road.

The entire town was turned into a kindness zone and small gifts of all descriptions were distributed.

Irish yogurts, passes for the Park Cinema, passes for Rossmore Theatre, ice-creams from Walshes Londis, car wash and hoover at Clonakilty Car Centre and teas at O’Donovan’s Hotel were just some of the gifts that were on offer to the lucky passers-by.

As a further incentive, all who carried out any act of kindness were entered into a free raffle, with prizes including treatments at the Inchydoney Lodge and Spa, family passes to the Model Railway village, Glenilen hampers and Clonakilty Black Pudding Hampers.

The Jungle Picnic which was held at the Emmet Hotel on Sunday again proved highly popular with several hundred guests. A free BBQ provided by the hotel while some of the Jungle City animals were in attendance as well as storyteller Pat the Hat, face-painting and live music.

Committee members Theresa O’Leary, Edel Ronan and Ger O’Donovan at Clonakilty Farmers Market in advance of the RAOK Festival. Pic: Richie Tyndall

The Random Acts of Kindness festival committee is made up of members of Clonakilty Macra, Jungle City and the wider community.

They would like to thank all their volunteers and supporters including Fernhill House Hotel, High Resolution, The Loft Framing and Gallery, Scannell’s Bar, Shanley’s Bar, Fushia Footwear, Fusion Colour, Vale Media, Richie’s Bistro and Red Balloon along with everyone else mentioned above.

The festival captured the imagination of the media and the whole world.

It featured on the Six One News with Paschal Sheehy on RTÉ News on Friday while Cian McCormack from Morning Ireland visited the organisers in advance of the festival.

Over the course of the weekend, Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn acknowledged the festival on Twitter and a Californian radio station has since contacted the organisers. The concept has spread like the bubbles and is sure to go from strength to strength. Further Acts of Kindness are planned soon so watch this space!

For more visit www.raokclon.com.