Rain fails to dampen mood as Lough Ree Festival gets underway

It may have rained and it may have been on the chilly side, but that didn’t stop around 200 locals and interested observers from attending last Friday night’s Lough Ree Environmental Summer Festival launch in Lanesboro.

It may have rained and it may have been on the chilly side, but that didn’t stop around 200 locals and interested observers from attending last Friday night’s Lough Ree Environmental Summer Festival launch in Lanesboro.

The first open air event of its kind, audience members were treated to an evening of laughter and entertainment on the shores of Lough Ree as part of the newly named festival’s 15th anniversary celebrations.

Dancers from the renowned Stanley Carroll School of Dancing and Windsong Harp School joined a string of local musicians on stage for what was a night to remember at the recently re-developed Commons Quarry.

Journalist and Irish Times columnist John Waters, as the evening’s keynote speaker, brought plenty of added cheer when joking about the unsettling weather conditions as well as his own roots as a Roscommon native.

“It’s very rare, I think, for a Roscommon man to come to Longford unless he is making a run for the border,” he chuckled, as those watching on smiled in quiet amusement.

On the topic of the event’s “extraordinary venue”, the Castlerea writer quipped: “The radiators, I don’t think have been linked I yet and I think the roof is coming tomorrow. Even if it had rained, I think we would have sat through it anyway because the evening has been so fantastic.”

As Mr Waters mingled with fellow attendees, other speakers spoke at length about the four day event’s action packed itinerary which gets underway next Thursday (August 9).

Sarah Crinigan pointed to the festival’s mix of historical tours and camping expeditions as a way of enticing involvement from both young and old alike.

“It’s hard to keep a fine line similar so that we don’t lose the essence of it (festival) but also we didn’t want to make it the same year after year.”

Messages of thanks were likewise given by Donal Casey, chairman of Lough Ree Development Co-op, a stance which was replicated by master of ceremonies, Mark Casey. The local councillor heaped praise on monies collected by way of donations.

“Our Royal Canal Trip for instance with Dick Warner, for a family of four and with dinner provided is costing just €40. That’s great value for money and just wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors,” he said.

The festival, this year emblazoned with the tag-line ‘Science: Helping the Environment’ is scheduled from August 9-12.

To find out more and to book your place on one of the many exhibitions, tours and workshops contact the Lough Ree Development Co-op at 043 3327070 or log onto www.loughree.ie for further information.