Athlone River Festival now confirmed for August Bank Holiday weekend return

The Athlone River Festival will take place during the August Bank Holiday weekend, newly elected committee chairperson, Padraig Hegarty stated this week.

A weekend of food, fun and water activities is being organised which aims to show why Athlone is one of Ireland’s top tourist destinations, Padraig confirmed to the Athlone Advertiser.

“A launch date will be announced in 2024, but next year’s festival itinerary is being planned with some great events taking place such as a food market, fishing competitions, historical tours, water displays and the hope of Viking re-enactments,” Padraig added.

The Athlone River Festival committee recently hosted their AGM at which outgoing chairperson, Damien Delaney, highlighted the importance of hosting such a festival in the town.

Incoming chairperson, Padraig Hegarty, stated that it was his honour to have been appointed to the position, recalling great memories of the river festivals which took place in the 1990s when “I was of a very young age” and “now, to be in a position to support a river festival in this way gives me great pride.”

Padraig, who is a member of Athlone Boat Club, has a great passion for the town and the river Shannon and through his organisation of water based activities for the annual Croi na hÉireann Festival, he is accustomed to such committee work.

Padraig paid tribute to Damien and thanked all those past volunteers who came before him for the continued passion, commitment and dedication to Athlone’s waterways and the river Shannon.

“Individuals like Damien do so much for the town, at times going unnoticed. He has promoted and represented this festival well and laid a marker for the next generation to continue this great work and event,” Padraig commented.

The committee elected to undertake the planning of the 2024 festival are Michelle Doyle - PRO; Michael McDonnell - Treasurer and Vicky Grehan - Secretary. Also supporting the committee is Joe McEvoy (Madcaps ) Cllr Paul Hogan, Mags Cunney, Vincent Harney (Athlone Walking Tours ) and Timmy Donovan (Sean’s Bar ).

“This weekend has massive potential to showcase our beautiful river Shannon, local water groups and businesses here in Athlone. We have received great support from many groups and we will continue to engage with as many organisations as we can early in the new year as we navigate this process of planning.

“In early 2024 we hope to be able to release a tentative schedule of events for the August Bank Holiday weekend. We have support from TUS and many water based organisations and the committee will seek to engage with local businesses about how they can get involved.

“Our engagement with different organisations remains ongoing and the committee hope to conclude this part of planning by the end of January 2024. The theme of next year’s river festival will be ‘Viking Riverfest’ and we will do all to ensure that the weekend will represent the town well and showcase why Athlone is one of Ireland’s best destinations for tourism,” Padraig concluded.


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