The Rás Street Party
The Rás Tailteann (www.anpost.ie/cycling) is an annual international cycling stage race held over eight days in May. The name of the race has changed several times over the years, generally to reflect the sponsors of the competition. Since 2011, it has been known as the An Post Rás. The use of Tailteann links the race to the ancient Tailteann Games, a Celtic sporting event held from 632 BC until the Norman Invasion of Ireland.
Commonly know as The Rás, the first race was held in 1953. The competition sees riders travel throughout the Irish countryside. In 2012, the route covered 1,168 kilometres, passing through 14 counties, 28 categorised climbs, and three of the most difficult ascents in the country. The race’s open format creates a mix of riders of different backgrounds and abilities. In addition to some of Ireland’s best cyclists and professional cyclists representing national and international teams from all over the world, amateur riders from county and regional teams also participate.
Since 2006, the eight and final stage of the competition has ended in Skerries. In preparation for the thrilling finale of The Rás, the local organizing committee puts on a range of fun events for residents and spectators visiting the community. The race attractsthousands to Skerries, as cycling enthusiasts and revellers line the town’s streets to watch riders finish their gruelling tour of Ireland. Each year the community also hosts a large street party and crafts market to coincide with the finale. In 2012, a large street party was organized to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Rás and to cheer on riders as they complete the race on Strand Street. Activities included street games, a funfair and fairground games, farmer’s market stalls with homemade crafts and treats, music and dance performances, magic shows, and face-painting.
Each year, community and volunteer groups, as well as local schools, participate in special activities and performances. A relaxed family-friendly cycle is organized each year by the Skerries Cycling Initiative, which promotes riding in the community. The fun ride welcomes cyclists of all abilities, including children and novices. The route travels from the Skerries Mills to Ardgillan Castle, where a picnic was held for participants following the ride. School groups also put on musical and dance performances as part of the town’s street festival.