Bettystown beach was a hive of activity on Sunday for the 10th national sand festival which attracted the biggest number of competitors and spectators to date.
The rain held off until evening and overcast skies and warm weather ensured there were perfect sandcastle making conditions on the day.
From early morning, sand sculptors took their places on the beach to start work on their creations and a huge number of families took part in the sandcastle competiton.
The overall sandcastle prize on the day went to the Eichinger family from Germany who were only on the second day of their holiday in Laytown. The winner of the sand sculpture competiton was Ciaran Grant from Bettystown, for his sculpure 'The Soldier'.
The number of teams in the sand sculpture competition more than doubled since last year, with 19 teams taking part and an average of four people on each team. For the sandcastle competition, there were 112 entries, again with an average of four on each team.
Martina Maguire of the organising committee said the weather was overcast and warm all day but it did not rain until 6pm when they were in the middle of cleaning up the beach.
She estimated that a crowd of 2,500 to 3,000 people had been on the beach on Sunday between participants and onlookers, which was the biggest crowd to date.
"It was like an art gallery on the beach. A lot of people came down in the evening to see it," said Ms Maguire.
Lots of children had their faces painted by Emma Lennon and there were a number of vendors on the beach this year for the festival.
Meath East Sands Sculptures (MESS), which organises the event, thanked everyone who had made the event possible.
"Ten years is a long time and each year we have a group of workers who come out early in the morning to mark out the plots and organise the layout and set-up for the event," she said. Special guest, Minister Fergus O'Dowd, presented the silver cup to the overall winners, the family from Germany who were on their holidays.
Ms Maguire said they also want to thank Meath County Council, especially Peter Brady, environmental officer with Meath County Council, for supplying wheeled bins for the clean-up afterwards.
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