Originating in the 17th century this event occurred at Dunanyie Head, now known as Castle Point where Silver Cliffs Holiday Park is situated. Some say that the fair started out as a sheep market, others say that it originated when Sorley Boy MacDonnell ordered a celebration for his nephew. Either way it grew and migrated as Ballycastle has developed in later years. It is now most famous for it’s ‘Dulse’ – edible seaweed that has been collected from local shores and dried out and ‘Yellow Man’ – a yellow candy similar in texture to toffee and taste of honeycomb.
Well over a hundred stalls ply their trade yearly with products ranging from CDs, tapes, clothing, car accessories, tools, entertainment, souvenirs, sweets, food, horses, ponies, household goods, etc…
A ballad was composed ‘The Ould Lammas Fair’ by John Henry MacAuley, the proprietor of the Bog Oak Shop in Ann Street, Ballycastle (now Dan McLister’s News agency & Toy Shop). MacAuley was a bog-oak carver and from his skilled hands came all sorts of small objects such as round towers, pipe stands, ash trays, pen and ink stands, ornamental picture frames, farm animals and various designs. Born on a farm in Glenshesk he was expected to follow the farming tradition but when he was a child he met with an accident which left him crippled. MacAuley was very musical and a well known fiddle player. He wrote a number of songs but the only one to be published was ‘The Ould Lammas Fair’. He died in 1937 long before the song became popular.