A few Marymass Events

The full Festival programme is located on the official Marymass website; printed programmes are available at local outlets from July

Left: the Paris, Ontario, Pipe Band
Right: Irvine Town House reflected (photo by Charlie Gilmour, courtesy of the "Irvine Times")

BELOW . . . Fourth Port Day . . . The Parade . . .The Greasy Pole . . . Poem from 1965


Fourth Port Day

On the second Saturday after the first Monday in August, the Marymass Queen Elect and her four Marys, accompanied by the Captain of Irvine Carters’ Society parade in the Fullarton area of Irvine. The splash of colour and pageantry to the area marks Irvine Carters’ Society's visit to the Fourth Port, the Harbour.

The Parade leaves Second Avenue at 10.00am and tours the Fullarton area before reaching the 4th Port.

Route: check in the Marymass Festival website

Afternoon events: see the Marymass Festival website

Evening events: 9.00pm Festival of Light Procession,
9.45pm Firework Display

The 4th Port Parade has now firmly established itself as an integral event in the Marymass programme. The Parade includes a number of participating community organisations, horse drawn vehicles and entertainment.


Parade Results

We no longer enter all the Parade Results on this website - sorry!

Also, categories are not printed in the programme - contact the Carters for details.



The Greasy Pole

Over the past sixty years, three men have stood out among the rest at this Marymass Saturday event - the picture on the left is from 1986, and on the right from 2002.

One is Burt Dickson who won the ham so many times they thought of giving him the pole and ham to keep. He climbed it himself on many occasions and on a number of occasions with his friend Hugh Condon.

A second is John Douglas, from Old Caley Road, was also a hard man to beat, with his pockets of sand. When it came to climbing the pole in later years he used the services of Jim Affleck, Snowy Watson, John Gemmell, and Bobby McClelland and a young Henry Thompson to give a helping hand.

And last, but not least, Shammy Cooper. Over 20 years Shammy had his reward of pulling the ham from the top of the pole, ably assisted by his friends.

Winning teams in the early 2000s have included the names of Cooper, Shanks, Burns, English, Stewart, Winton, Clancy, Affleck, and many more. Long may it continue to be a success.

The ham over the years has been supplied by the Donaldson family.



Whit'll Ye Dae?

Written by Alex McMillan, Rector of Irvine Royal Academy, and printed in the 1965 programme, this poem describes Marymass Saturday as seen by one of the townspeople, though the final question suggests why some of the men who join the parade may sometimes look a wee bit worried.

photo: Seagate, where the procession stops briefly on the return journey at the end of the afternoon

O, whit'll ye dae at Marymass
Whan August Fair comes roun'
Will ye watch the croonin' o' the Queen
An' thrill tae the trumpets soun' ?

O, whit'll ye think o' Cairters' horse
Weel-groomt for Marymass sake,
That men hae rilbbon'd an' brushed a' nicht
-- Wi' drams tae keep awake?

Syne will ye march ootbye tae the Moor
Wi' the Trades and Magistrates,
Keepin' weel ahint the prancin' horse ,
O' the Captain an' his mates ?

Will ye aff wi' your bunnet on Magistrates' Hill,
Hae a dram at Cairters' command,
Ask .the Toon Gaird tae mark your caird
An' eat steak pie wi' the band?

Will ye sclim greasy pole wi' a ham at the tap
Pit money on favrite ponies
Watch an ill-moontit horse run aff the coorse -
Or meet in the bar wi' your cronies ?

Will ye hirple ahint the baun' comin' hame
An' sing at the Castle wa'
Syne think the day has been richt weel spent
Whan the Captain dismisses them a' ?

O whit will ye dae at Marymass
Whan your wife, a' ribbons an' bows,
Says " Noo that you're back frae enjoyin' yoursel'
Ye can tak' us a' oot tae the Shows " ?

Weel, whit will ye dae?

photo above: Queen Angela Craik in 1946
passing the Towns House


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