The numbers attending the ice rink in Castlebar since it was opened on The Mall at the end of last month has already exceeded expectations, according to the Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District, Martin McLoughlin.
Cllr McLoughlin told the Mayo Advertiser that the Castlebar Chamber initiative has been a very popular Christmas attraction, drawing crowds from across the region. “We are pleasantly surprised with the numbers we have been getting for the ice rink in Castlebar," he said. "It’s very busy and we are looking for it to be even busier over the Christmas period when people are on holidays and schools are closed for the break. We envisaged in the beginning that it would attract people from all over the province and that seems to be exactly what is happening. We’ve had people coming from Sligo, Roscommon, Galway, all parts of Mayo, and even as far away as Donegal. We’re delighted about that.”
The Cathaoirleach and representatives of Castlebar Chamber visited Waterford earlier this week to discuss how to ensure a repeat of a successful winter festival, as Waterford leads the way in annually attracting large crowds to its yuletide event.
Cllr McLoughlin says that visit was all about how to build the festival into something bigger. “We’re looking forward and planning for next year already. This will be a repeat, hopefully annual, event and we are looking to make it bigger and better next year and the year after, and of course we’ll be learning as we go along year after year.”
The Fianna Fail representative continued: “There is no doubt there is an opening to host a winter festival in Castlebar. That is the plan for the town and the good thing about it is the council, the chamber of commerce, and the people of Castlebar are all supporting it. It’s by the people of Castlebar for the people of Castlebar and the county as a whole. The reason we want to make this [the ice rink] into a winter festival is because once you get into October and kids are back at school, holidays are over, and October through the end of the year can be very dead months. We want something to bridge that gap and bring people into the town. This will bring between 30 and 40 thousand people to the ice rink and to the town.”
The ice rink at The Mall in Castlebar is open every day from 4pm until Sunday, January 7. Visit iceskating.ie for more information.