Joe Dolan weekend to showcase Mullingar

Vouchers will encourage repeat business - Chamber

The Joe Dolan memorial weekend planned for Mullingar will give local businesses an opportunity to present the town of Mullingar in its best light, according to the local chamber of commerce.

In the weeks leading up to the festival weekend, which takes place in the town from Friday to Sunday December 5 to 7, businesses are being encouraged to plan how they will use the Mullingar Chamber voucher scheme to encourage people to return to visit the town.

According to Chamber president Paul O’Brennan, anything from 6,000 to 60,000 visitors are expected to converge on the town over the weekend, and he says the voucher scheme is the best way to ensure the town gets as much repeat business as possible. “We are trying to encourage retailers to use the vouchers instead of giving people change, or to give customers a discount if they use the vouchers. This way the person must come back to use the vouchers in the town.

“The celebrations give us a chance to showcase the town for the weekend, and to show people Mullingar is the only town to come to for shopping and business,” he explained.

The voucher scheme has proved very successful so far, says Mr O’Brennan. “A lot of retailers have come on board for the vouchers, both selling them and receiving them. The Credit Union and a number of different hotels are also selling them. Each business can then decide if they want to do something for the weekend, such as put an ad in their window, or a group of clothes shops, hairdressers, etc, could get together and come up with a deal.”

Hotels and guesthouses in Mullingar and the surroundings towns and countryside are said to be booked up already for the weekend of the Joe Dolan celebrations, while the Council is to make free parking available in the town during the weekend in order to accommodate the influx of visitors. A number of the town’s streets are to be pedestrianised during Sunday’s celebrations, when a life-size bronze statue of Joe Dolan will be unveiled in the town’s Market Square by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

According to Mr O’Brennan, it is up to individual businesses to help ensure that the town is looking its best for the festivities. “A number of businesses that wouldn’t normally open on Sunday will be opening, and they are being asked to open as early as possible. Each one is being asked to make sure their shop fronts are cleaned first thing in the morning.”

Although he can only guess at how many thousands of visitors will come together in the town over the weekend, Mr O’Brennan says Mullingar will be ready; “The more the merrier. If everyone spends a few euros it will be a big help.”


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