The dreary weather failed to dampen the mood last weekend as more than 4,000 people attended the Athlone River Festival and Food Village.
A packed programme of entertainment with more than 50 events was rolled out along the banks of the River Shannon in the heart of Athlone and beyond as part of the festivities. The festival involved activities both on and off the river, showcasing the very best of what the Midlands has to offer.
From dramatic river racing on Dragon boats and curraghs, to sky divers landing in the Shannon, and inspiring cookery demonstrations by the likes of Michelin star chef JP McMahon and Athlonian Mary O’Rourke, there was a vast array of entertainment to enjoy.
Festival organiser Adam Lyons said: “There was a palpable sense of pride over the weekend in terms of what Athlone and the Midlands has to offer. The river walk along the Shannon was thronged with families having a whale of a time despite the rain. Hats off to all of the volunteers who have stood by us over the eight months of hard work that went into organising this festival.”
The festival was last held in the town 20 years ago and has been revived by a committed group of local business people. The aim of the festival is to boost trade in the town by encouraging people into the town centre, and inspiring locals and visitors to enjoy the top quality entertainment and food and drink that is on offer while appreciating the rich heritage and history of Athlone.
“We are thrilled with the turn-out and the positive reaction to the festival,” Lyons said. “People really enjoyed it. The Oyster, Guinness and Jazz Street celebration got the party started with a bang on Saturday. There was no particular star of the festival because every event on the river and in the food village seemed to meld together to highlight what a cool place we live in.”