A jam-packed programme of festivals is being planned for this spring and summer in Athlone, with a number of new events taking their place among the town’s more established festivals.
Kicking off on February 18 with the Athletics Grand Prix event at Athlone Institute of Technology, the calendar already looks busy up until the end of August.
Planning is under way for a marching bands event in St Peter’s Square on March 20, while the annual All Ireland Drama Festival will take place from April 30 to May 9. This year a programme of fringe events will complement the Drama Festival, with a craft fair in McCormack Square on Saturday May 2, puppet shows in Athlone Castle on May 1 and 2, workshops in Luan Gallery, and guided town walks, with further events yet to be revealed.
A medieval fair has also been confirmed for May 16 and 17.
July 4-5 sees the annual Waterways Ireland triAthlone take over the town’s streets and waterways, with a two-day event, including the return of TriFest, planned for this year. A River Festival is in the planning stages for August 1 and 2.
Rounding off the summer will be the HSE Community Games finals, which take place over two weekends from August 14-16 and 21-23.
The council is encouraging anyone with any ideas for events in the locality to get in touch. District manager Pat Keating says the council has been working hard over the past 12 months to establish Destination Athlone as a banner to bring together all the tourism products Athlone has to offer.
“We are trying to put a strategy in place to take advantage of any funding available from Fáilte Ireland or Waterways Ireland; we are expanding on events we already have such as triAthlone and the Drama Festival, and developing new products. Athlone has the potential to be a top holiday destination and was on two holiday destination programmes recently - Getaways on BBC and TV3’s The