An action-packed weekend is promised for the Athlone River Festival on Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1, an apt and perfect way for families, fun-lovers and water sport enthusiasts to say goodbye to the summer in style.
This year’s festival has been designed to celebrate the rich history and culture of the medieval town. Athlone’s unique connection to the River Shannon has been a source of fun and opportunity for centuries.
Not to be missed on Saturday, August 31, is the Inland Waterways Motor Cruiser Flotilla which will sail between Athlone Bridge and Railway Lock at 3pm. The spectacle of this large convoy of motor cruisers arriving to the town is truly something to behold! Once the boats are safely docked, the day’s celebrations continue in the back of Sean’s Bar with live music and a Guinness and oyster reception between 4pm and 6pm.
On Saturday evening local rivalries may bubble to the surface as several local GAA teams take to the water for a raft race. It will be a true test of stamina as the teams race around the town bridge so make sure to come out to cheer on your club!
This year’s Athlone Castle Medieval Fair will take place in conjunction with the water events, including a wide variety of fun cultural activities for all ages. Highlights include falconry displays, medieval music and dance and live displays of medieval weaponry. The little ones can enjoy a host of fun activities such as outdoor games, medieval dress-up, face-painting and a crown and shield-making workshop.
Sunday activities kick off early on the water with a Junior Fishing competition and rowing race both getting underway from 10am. Highlights later in the day include a Dinghy Sailing demonstration and RNLI raft race.
“Here in Athlone we are surrounded by some of Ireland’s most stunning waterways. Athlone River Festival is a chance for everyone in the area to come together and enjoy a fun-filled weekend celebrating the fantastic natural amenity on our doorstep,” organizing committee member and volunteer with Lough Ree RNLI, Damien Delaney, enthused.
A full timetable and further information can be found on Athlone.ie website and Facebook page as well as the RNLI River Festival Facebook page.
The Athlone River Festival organisers include Athlone Anglers Association; Athlone Boat Club & Sub Aqua Club; Inland Waterways Association; Lough Ree Yacht Club; RNLI; Swim Ireland; Athlone Arts & Tourism; Heritage Council and Old Athlone Society;
Special thanks to Athlone Sports Centre; Hodson Bay Group; Sheraton Hotel; Destination Athlone; Westmeath County Council; Minister for Defence and the Army Band; Waterways Ireland; Sean’s Bar; Baysports; Viking Tours; Athlone Gardai; Order of Malta and to all the event organisers.