Roscommon Lamb Festival comes to a close

The committee responsible for Roscommon Lamb Festival has called time on the annual May weekend festival which has run in Roscommon town and surrounds since 2008.

  The cessation of the festival was agreed at a committee meeting held on Thursday night last. Festival Chairman Donal Mee thanked all involved in running the festival since 2008 and said that, after the two-year break due to Covid, it was decided not to continue with the festival.

  Chairman Donal Mee said: “Many of the hard-working voluntary committee who had to juggle their own work with the gruelling schedule in the build-up to each festival found that they could no longer give their full commitment”.

  The annual festival was established in 2008 to showcase all that is good about Roscommon in terms of food, history, heritage. It was initiated by Roscommon LEADER Partnership and initially driven by Cllr. Laurence Fallon and Patsy Daly, with Cllr. Fallon being chairman in 2008 and 2009. The weekend-long event drew many visitors to the county town over the May Bank Holiday Weekend.

  The Family Fun Day in Loughnaneane Park was one of the highlights of the weekend and will be remembered fondly by a generation of local children who enjoyed a range of children’s activities as well as food tents and a craft village.

  The event sought to bring people together, and the Brazilian community in the town had a large part to play in events over many years, while the festival was opened each year with an ecumenical event in St. Coman’s Church.

  Other annual events included art exhibitions, history tours, farm walks and a barbecue featuring Roscommon lamb.

  Donal Mee, a sheep farmer from Four Roads headed up the festival in 2018 and 2019, having taken over from Gerry Browne, who was at the helm for eight years prior to that.

  Mr. Mee this week paid tribute to the many volunteers who helped out at the festival over the years, and also extended his thanks to the voluntary committee who met throughout the year and in particular in the run-up to the annual festival. He also paid tribute to his predecessors as chair of the organising committee, Gerry Browne and Laurence Fallon.

  Mr. Mee paid tribute to the many sponsors, without whom the event couldn’t have been undertaken, especially Roscommon Local Enterprise Office, Roscommon County Council and also the many businesses and individuals, including sheep farmers, who supported the event financially.

  “Looking back, it put Roscommon on the map in a way. We helped bring visitors from all over Ireland, it was a shop window for Roscommon, for arts and crafts as well as Roscommon Lamb and Roscommon Wool. It was a taste of Roscommon in every sense of the word, in terms of food, history and heritage,” he added.

  The committee is still hopeful that another group might take on aspects of the festival, for example the running of the Family Fun Day in the park. Mr. Mee also noted that the newly-developed space in the Square could be used to host exhibitions or craft demonstrations. However, any new event or festival would be dependant on attracting a new cohort of volunteers.

  “It needs fresh blood and young people need to get involved,” concluded Mr. Mee.

Click here to read our Farewell to a much-loved event