Longford is set to paddles its own canoe in terms of tourism development with the Blueway Festival which takes place from From April 24-26 next.
“This is a very exciting festival and one that we are looking forward to immensely,” Seadna Ryan told those in attendance at the launch in Backstage Theatre last week.
“We now can put Longford as a tourist destination on an national and international stage and that is a wonderful achievement.”
The festival will celebrate the opening of the Camlin Loop in Clondra. The entire Camlin Blueway is a 10km looped canoe route running through some of the county’s most pictureque locations.
“The Camlin Loop and the Royal Canalway are all community projects, but they also give us an opportunity to bring tourists into the local area where we can reap the economic benefits,” added Mr Ryan.
“We live in a beautiful place and have magnificent facilities, so in terms of the festival it is an opportunity for us to showcase what we have.”
On Friday April 24 , official festival proceedings will kick off at 2pm with the opening of the Camlin Loop by Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys TD. This will then be followed by a paddle of the Loop. There will be a Marquee in the Clondra area throughout the festival.
On the Saturday, festival goers and water sports fanatics will move back in towards Longford town via Killashee.
“This festival also coincides with Backstage Theatre’s 20th anniversary and there will be two shows of the Elf and the Shoemaker throughout the weekend,” Mr Ryan continued.
“Brendan Doyle is also in the process of organising the Royal Canal Marathon which is expected to bring runners from all over the country to Longford that weekend.”
A canal walk is also in the pipeline and this is expected to trace the 18km from Longford town back to Clondra - a route that is breathtaking in its own right.
At the event, there will also be a trad session in the marquee on the Saturday night and on Sunday, a family cycle back to Clondra is on the cards, while Fidget Feet are currently preparing for a very dramatic piece of theatre in the form of an aerial display back in Clondra.
“There will also be stand up paddle boarding and canoe polo at Clondra Harbour, and everyone that attends the festival will be provided with an opportunity to get on the water if they wish to do so,” added Mr Ryan.
“Longford Scuba will also give demonstrations and there will be a guided heritage walk within the village of Clondra and along the Royal Canal.”
Throughout the weekend there will be plenty of stalls boasting a wonderful array of artisan produce and the Little Blue Room in Longford town will become the main focus on Sunday night where there will be some wonderful entertainment for festival goers to enjoy.
Organisers are currently looking for volunteers to provide assistance throughout the weekend and those wishing to become involved in Longford tourism are advised to contact the local tourism office on (043) 3342577.