A total of €3,500 in funding has been allocated to the Uisneach Bealtaine festival in Westmeath as part of the 2017 Regional Festivals & Participative Events Programme.
This funding is provided by Fáilte Ireland to local festivals which apply to its Regional Festivals and Participative Events Programme. The programme is reviewed every year with a view to generating incremental visitor growth and revenue. The focus for festivals in 2017 is on growing tourism demand outside the peak season and to spread and grow tourism demand more evenly across the country.
The Bealtaine Fire at Uisneach will be lit this year on Saturday, May 6 from 7pm – 10.30pm. The event will focus on the lighting of the ceremonial fire and will have a strictly limited capacity.
Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael Deputy, Peter Burke, has welcomed the funding.
“The Uisneach Bealtaine Fire Festival really adds to the character of the area and is great for generating community spirit,” he said. “President Michael D Higgins is set to attend which is a testament to the character and esteem the festival is held in. We are hugely fortunate in Westmeath to have this fantastic cultural and historical site on our doorstep.
“David Clarke and family have generously opened up their property to the public and invested so much on site for the good of the community. The site is so historically important that the hill is currently one of five sites being considered by UNESCO in relation to World Heritage Status.”
Deputy Peter Burke says this will boost tourist numbers and should increase the footfall to local businesses in Westmeath. The Mullingar TD continues to work with county council colleagues and is lobbying Government colleagues to ensure that the County Development Plan includes safeguards for wind turbine construction in relation to wind speed capacity designation and noise levels.
“I would urge people not to just attend the festival, but to go and view the beautiful surrounds at the Hill of Uisneach, which is the exact centrepoint of Ireland,” he said. “Guided tours are given from April through October and the view from the hill top is spectacular.
“Fine Gael is committed to building the tourism and hospitality industry which employs an estimated 220,000 people and generates an estimated €5.7 billion in revenue a year.”