Jog with your dog, bound with your hound or SUP with your pup
The Wild Atlantic Wag is a festival like no other – it’s a weekend of dog centred fun and activities in the Sligo seaside village of Enniscrone on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th September 2021. The festival centres around a beach canicross race on Sunday and includes SUP with your pup, a fun dog show, dog themed murder mystery tour, dog themed sandcastle competition and lots more. The event is run in aid of the RNLI in Sligo.
Event organiser Karen O’Connor is a dog trainer and behaviour consultant, with a passion for canine fitness. “The inspiration behind the Wild Atlantic Wag festival was to get dogs, and their people, active and having fun”, Karen explains, “There are so many activities you can do with your dog and Enniscrone is just the ideal location for most of them. The whole point of the weekend is for dogs and their owners to be outside having fun and also to promote responsible dog ownership”.
Canicross is a recognised sport consisting of cross country running with a dog attached to you using a hip belt, bungee lead and appropriate harness for the dog. The Wild Atlantic Wag version is on the long, sandy beach at Enniscrone starting at 10am. Some of the country’s top canicrossers, who will be representing Ireland at the world championships in April will be taking part.
There are three distances – 5km, 3km and 1.5km for juniors (under 12). This event is chip timed so prior registration is essential. All entrants will get a goody bag including a bespoke medal, dog treat and specially designed WAG socks. Canicross equipment is recommended but isn’t essential. Some equipment will be available to borrow on the day. Otherwise, you can take part with a handheld lead and collar but no prong collars, choke chains or retractable leads are allowed.
The run will be followed by a pet themed sand art competition and fun Dog Show and K9 Olympics. Events include dog-and-owner races such as an egg and spoon race with a twist – the lead must be held in the same hand as the spoon, and categories such as Best Sausage Catcher for the dogs.
The fun dog show starts at 1pm in The Hollow behind the beach. The classes are a little out of the ordinary with categories including, ‘Waggiest Tail’, ‘Best Mixed Breed’, ‘Best Trick’, ‘Fancy Dress’ and ‘Looks Most Like Their Owner’.
On Saturday, SUP with your pup is the order of the day where dogs and their owners try stand up paddleboarding at Enniscrone Pier with Harbour SUP. Buoyancy aids are essential for both – a limited number of dog life jackets will be available on the day. Sessions must be pre-booked; the first is at 2pm and a second will take place if there is sufficient demand.
Everyone is invited to take part in a murder mystery walk around the village at any point over the weekend. A notorious puppy farmer has been found murdered in Enniscrone, after the pedigree puppies he sold turned out to be mutts. Find the clues around the village to work out who committed the dastardly act and what they used Just get a map and follow the clues to solve the mystery and a tasty ice cream treat at Maple Moose. According to Discover Enniscrone, dog friendly accommodation is available in Enniscrone at the Ocean Sands Hotel and several other establishments. Their website www.discoverenniscrone.com will help in planning a visit to Enniscrone. Full details of the Wild Atlantic Wag festival are available on Facebook (@tailsandtrailsireland). Early booking is recommended.
#Photo credit Trevor Henry