Clare may soon be getting its equivalent of the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, Limerick’s RiverFest or the Galway Arts Festival.
At the June meeting of Clare County Council, Cllr Cathal Crowe asked for an appraisal and costing of hosting “a major annual festival along the lines of Limerick’s Riverfest, Galway’s Arts Festival and Kilkenny’s Cat Laughs Comedy Festival.”
Replying on behalf of the local authority, Director of Rural Development Leonard Cleary said, “The Tourism Unit of the Rural Development Directorate will work on a cross-directorate basis with the Arts Office, Social Development Directorate to research this proposal and to consider any funding opportunities available”.
“Once the weather picks up there are festivals all over the country”, Cllr Crowe said. He feels the county will feel the effects this year of not hosting the Fleadh and referenced the iconic photos that graced the front pages of national newspapers from that time.
“Ennis is Munster’s largest town so our ambitions need to be loftier”, the Fianna Fáil councillor added. He said the listed festivals bring in several billions of euro and highlighted RiverFest in Limerick as an event that plays to the strengths of the location. “We’ve plenty of hotels to carry a large population of people”. Crowe praised the work of the Council’s communications officer, Mark Dunphy and suggested that he put something out to bring in further ideas.
Cllr Gerry Flynn seconded what he called “an innovative motion”.