The Croi na hEireann Festival committee has finalised details of all activities to take place during the five day event in recognition of the national feast day in March.
“We are delighted with the response from the general public and the local businesses. It shows that there is a real appetite to get out and celebrate, to meet people, socialise and be positive once again. The response towards the voluntary committee is very positive and we have the makings of what could become a major annual festival for the town of Athlone,” festival treasurer, Cllr Frankie Keena, stated.
Echoing similar sentiments, festival chairperson, John Henson, afforded his appreciation to members of the local community who have offered their firm support for the five day event.
“We have had numerous companies and individuals contacting us to offer whatever help our hardworking committee requires and this is very heartening to all involved. Clubs and groups have been very eager to take part and use this festival to showcase the talent that this town has to offer.” Mr Henson commented.
The exact timings and final list of events should be known by end of next week but listed are a broad outline of events.
A mini market will be operational at the Town Centre from March 16-20 inclusive with traditional music and dance outside the Civic Offices on March 17 plus a vast array of activities for children of all ages in Athlone Towncentre.
Friday, March 18, will see the inaugural hosting of the Croi na hÉireann trout fishing competition with all angling clubs on Lough Ree uniting under the auspices of the Lough Ree Angling Federation.
A children’s treasure trail from the Whitegates to the Garrycastle GAA clubhouse commences at 12pm on March 18.
Friday, March 18, also provides for top class ceili music and dancing to the sound of ‘Rise the Dust’ at the Athlone GAA clubhouse from 8pm.
The morning of Saturday, March 19, will witness demonstrations from Athlone Sub Aqua Club, Athlone River Safety Group and the RNLI in the area of Seans Bar/ town bridge while in the afternoon American football team, Westmeath Minotaurs will play a combination of police and fire fighters from Philladelphia (Blue Flame ) in Pairc Chiarain in a special cup game to honour a member of the Blue Flame who was killed in the line of duty.
On the morning of Sunday, March 20, the action returns to the river where Athlone Boat Club will give rowing demonstrations and also extend an invitation to the general public to call in for an ‘unofficial opening’ of their fabulous new clubhouse while in the vicinity.
The main parade, the showpiece occasion of the Croi na hÉireann Festival, takes place on Sunday, March 20 at 2pm with the national colours and the band of 2 Brigade marching from Custume Barracks. They will be joined by a wide range of sporting and community groups who will have to share air space with 18ft Spiderman, Superman, Bart Simpson and several more favourites.