The prospect of future world fishing championship events being staged on Lough Ree and in county Longford are more than positive, after the success of the recent predator boat international at Lanesborough and Ballyleague.
The event, alongside the Taste of the Lakelands Food Festival, are thought to have injected €400,000 into the local economy.
"The anglers of the world loved the fishing and they loved the local people," Hugh Keane, chairman of the Lough Ree Angling hub said. "We must now prepare to take this angling tourism project to the next crucial stage. The event could return after this success."
The Lough Ree Angling Hub wish to extend sincere thanks to each and every person who helped in any way to make the recent World Fishing Championships and the Taste of the Lakelands food festival events such an outstanding success.
The attendance at the festival between the opening parade on Thursday, October 6 and the closing ceremony on Sunday, October 9 was extraordinary.
Thanks to Longford County Council and the Local Enterprise Office, an estimated 6,000 people visited the Lanesboro/Ballyleague area on the Saturday alone and anglers from 17 countries were simply blown away by the hospitality and the facilities on offer.
The success of the festival is down to the combined efforts of over 60 people who worked in a voluntary capacity with a small local committee to help ensure everything ran smoothly. Letters of thanks will be going out this week to all individuals and groups who helped in any way.
This resounding success presents a new and very significant challenge to the people of Lanesboro and Ballyleague and the wider Lough Ree area, as Hugh continued; "It has been proven beyond any doubt that we can stage a world championship fishing competition of the highest calibre and the feedback after the food festival is proof that the producers and the the state agencies have the highest confidence in our ability to organise the finest showcase for good food seen anywhere in this part of the country."
The future now presents both the opportunity to replicate these successes and the challenge to go even further by welcoming even more national and international visitors to our town at bigger and even better events in the coming year .
The Angling hub and food festival committees cannot do this on their own and in the coming weeks they will carry out a series of de-briefing events and meetings with traders, county councils, agencies and funders to discuss where improvements can be made if there are future events.
The organisers welcome all input at this stage and would like to invite all local traders, business owners, shopkeepers, publicans, food producers and everyone in the town and nearby area with an interest in the future organisation of these type of events to a public meeting in St Mary's Parish Hall - beside the bridge in Lanesboro - on Thursday, October 27 at 8:30pm.
The meeting will review the festival feedback and plan for the future. The turnout of local traders and others will really dictate where we go from here so please come along.
In the meantime, if you have any queries or suggestions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to Alan Farrell at 086 8697952.