Granard is famous for many things.
It’s much revered market town heritage and deep seated association as one of Ireland’s premier focal points of the Irish War of Independence are just for starters.
Now, it can add the name of ‘Enterprise Town’ to that ever lengthening list thanks to its main authors, Bank of Ireland.
Last month, the Leader was the first to reveal how the north Longford town had been selected by the country’s largest bank for the accolade.
A concept aimed at supporting both local business and the wider community, those two key points of interest look set to be in rich evidence this coming weekend.
It all gets underway on Friday when a raft of local firms will be given the opportunity to showcase their produce in a ‘Business Expo’ event at Cnoc Mhuire Secondary School (3-7:30pm).
Arts and crafts, demonstrations from local schools and a series of guest speakers have also been added to an event-filled itinerary.
The following day (11am to 3pm), the theme switches to a more sporting ethos, this time at St Mary’s GAA Complex in nearby Higgnstown.
Both events will welcome prominent business and sporting personalities including Anne Heraty, CEO at CPL Resources and former Tipprerary hurler, Liam Sheedy.
The Sports Expo will be officially opened by Mickey Harte, manager of the Tyrone Gaelic Football team and will also be attended by other sporting personalities.
The two day affair is akin to similar celebrations which have already taken place at the bank’s other ‘Enterprise Town’-Rathdowney, in Co Laois.
Granard Bank of Ireland Branch Manager Teresa Donohoe said huge efforts had gone into bringing this weekend’s festivities to fruition.
“We are very excited to bring our ‘Enterprise Town’ initiative to Granard,” she said.
“The response from the local business community has been heartening and from the outset the local community welcomed and embraced our proposal.”
Details of the novel ‘Enterprise Town’ initiative comes after the bank announced in August its first six-month profit return since the economic crash.
According to its own set of figures, impairment charges on loans and advances to customers was reduced to €444m in the six months, down from €780m in the same period last year.
Default loan volumes also fell to €16.7bn, compared with €17.1bn at the end of December.