“This will be the biggest weekend in the history of Lanesboro and Ballyleague.” That was the view from Lough Ree Angling Hub Chairman, Hugh Keane, at the launch of ‘A Taste of the Lakelands’ food festival, which is being held in conjunction with the World Fishing Championships in Ballyleague and Lanesboro.
Up to 10,000 people are now expected in the Shannonside town this week as the world’s top anglers converge on the area.
The festival begins today (Thursday) and will continue until Sunday (October 9th). The World Fishing Championships will be held on Saturday and Sunday (8th and 9th) and will host 300 visitors from 17 countries.
The recent launch was attended by local politicians and community leaders including TDs Eugene Murphy and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, local councillors, community leaders and a large crowd of local people
At the launch, PRO Ciaran Mullooly, committee member Helen Feeney and Longford Rose and Lanesboro native Caroline Doyle shared the MC duties. Over the four days of the festival there are many highlights.
Today (Thursday), starting at 6 pm, there will be a Mardi Gras type parade on the streets of Lanesboro and Ballyleague featuring the Garda Band and others and there will be a parade of anglers from around the world and a ceremony of flags at St. Mary’s Hall.
Tomorrow (Friday) there will be fishing trials on Lough Ree and the Food Festival will begin with the official opening being performed by Tourism Minister, Shane Ross, at 2.30 pm. There will be food demonstrations with top class chefs on Friday and Saturday. In the Festival Marquee on Friday there will be a performance from the Roscommon Solstice Choir and at 8.30 pm there will be a special celebrity cook-off between the ICA ladies of Roscommon and Longford with assistance from Roses Caroline Doyle and Aisling McNeill at 8.30 pm. Admission is €10 and proceeds will go to Pieta House Athlone.
Saturday (October 8th), will see day one of the World Fishing Championships taking place with competitors from 17 countries. The food demonstrations will continue with TV chef Kevin Dundon the star attraction at 2 pm. There will be a kids’ disco at 7 pm in the Festival Marquee and later a major community event will be held at 9 pm. Details to be announced later.
On Sunday (9th), the World Fishing Championships will conclude with fishing from 10 am to 4 pm. There will be a water sports display on the Shannon and there will be a special ice cream party for the kids with family entertainment all day in the Festival Marquee. The weekend will conclude with a gala dinner for the competitors in the angling championships.
Paying tribute to the many sponsors of the festival, PRO Ciaran Mullooly said that there has been a wonderful response from local business people to the events. An impressive colour brochure designed by Fiona Dunne is available and 10,000 copies have been printed for the festival.