Carrick-on-Shannon is preparing itself for a tourism boost of approximately €8m during 2013 as in excess of 26,000 additional visitors are expected to celebrate and take part in the 400th anniversary since England’s King James I granted the town charter.
Visitor numbers are expected to almost double to 53,000 during 2013, resulting in an expected tourism revenue of €16m for the year.
To celebrate the historic anniversary a year-long festival programme of events was officially launched last Friday by President Michael D. Higgins. He was joined by local children, dancers and local dignitaries for the opening event which culminated in a lantern and fireworks display on the banks of the river Shannon.
Speaking at the launch at the Quay, President Higgins said, “Here in 21st century Carrick-on-Shannon, we have a striking example of what can be achieved when we combine the richest moments from our past with the wonderful possibilities offered by the present moment; when we are capable of constantly re imagining, re-crafting and discerning new visions while retaining all that was best about our shared history.
“It is inspiring to see how - throughout these lovely streets - a quiet wisdom merges with a vigorous energy, creating a seamless intertwining of the past and present, each playing their part in creating a distinct place rich with unique characteristics; a town proud of its past but also sufficiently confident to engage with the complexities of modern life.”
In tandem with ‘The Gathering’ initiative Carrick-on-Shannon natives from all over the globe are being encouraged to return to the town along with tourists from within and outside of Ireland to join in the celebrations.
A dedicated website www.carrickonshannon400.ie is available providing the latest information on news and events taking place through the 2013 celebrations.
The 400th anniversary celebrations will begin when Carrick on Shannon Rowing Club, the oldest rowing club in Ireland (177 years old in 2013) hosts the ‘Head of the Shannon’ on Saturday, the 23rd February which will see rowers from across Ireland compete.
Other events planned for the 400th celebrations this year include Millennium Choir Performances (March); John McGahern Summer School (May); Carrick on Shannon Carnival 400 (June); Carrick Water Music Festival (June); Connaught Fleadh (July); Shannon Boat Rally (July); Literary Heritage Week (September); Leitrim Roots Festival (September); National Hot Air Balloon Championship (September); Sessions on the Shannon (October) and Carrick-on-Shannon 400 Closing Ceremony (November), to name but a few. In total there are over 100 events planned over the next 10 months!
Outlining the importance of the Carrick on Shannon 400 celebrations to the people of Co Leitrim, Jackie Maguire County Manager, Leitrim County Council said “This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the people and the town of Carrick on Shannon. The 400 Anniversary celebrations are a great opportunity to showcase Carrick on Shannon and all its wonderful attributes to a worldwide audience. We hope to welcome an additional 26,000 visitors from near and far to the town during 2013 which will provide a very significant economic boost to the region. I would encourage anyone considering visiting Ireland or taking a holiday at home this year to think of Carrick on Shannon, visit our website and let us treat you to a traditional Leitrim welcome!”
Speaking about the dramatic change and development in Carrick on Shannon, Sinead McDermott, Leitrim Tourism said, “Putting in a national and international tourism context, Carrick-on-Shannon is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most progressive and fastest growing inland resorts in Ireland. The quality and capacity of visitor accommodation stock has more than doubled in the past number of years while there has been a significant addition to the range in visitor attractions and activities with many additional all weather and family options. Quite simply there have never been as many people coming to Carrick-on-Shannon.”
Carrick on Shannon 400 is a Leitrim County Council initiative supported by Leitrim Tourism, Carrick-on-Shannon Chamber, Leitrim Development Company and the local community.
For further information on Carrick on Shannon 400 checkout: www.carrickonshannon400.ie