Riverfest set to draw 85,000 people to Limerick for May Bank Holiday weekend
Over 85,000 people are expected to descend on the banks of the Shannon in Limerick this May Bank Holiday weekend for what is being billed as the one of the country's 'best summer festivals.'
Now in it's 14th year, Riverfest has staked its claim as a carnival of "activity and variety" all based around the great waters of the majestic Shannon, with much of the high jinks on river itself.
Visitors are expected to travel from across the 32 counties and abroad for a four day celebration that includes everything from high-octane water based activities across the weekend to the country’s biggest fireworks display of the summer, its largest BBQ cook-off, celebrations of food and fashion, outdoor and indoor concerts and, of course, the Bon Secours Hospital Great Limerick Run.
Among the major new attractions this year will be the first ever visit to Ireland by the Seabreacher Shark – a dare-devil ride all the way from Queenstown, New Zealand an 18ft ‘shark-craft’ that can travel at speeds of up to 80km per hour, soar 18ft high out of the water, dip up to 5ft under the water, do side rolls and doughnuts.
The water based activities for the Limerick Strand Hotel Riverfest on the Shannon will also involve a free Double Zipline across the Shannon, Water Zorbing, Kayaking, and a social swim that will have hundreds getting a different perspective of the great river.
At quayside there will be annual favourites such as The Riverfestival Village, at Arthur’s Quay – a weekend long cacophony of foods, crafts, vintage amusements, street performers and live musical entertainment. The Limerick Food Experience in the Garden of the Hunt Museum will showcase the best quality, locally produced food and drink that Limerick has to offer while the Saturday will also see one of the annual high points of the festival take place as Ireland’s largest BBQ cook-off takes place with teams representing cuisines around the world competing for honours.
Pic: Bell X1 will perform on Sunday 6th May at King John's Castle in the city
Fashion Friday at Arthur’s Quay will be hosted by Ireland’s leading fashion stylist Celia Holman-Lee and showcase the latest trends from Limerick’s top fashion houses and designers. The weekend’s ‘Big Gigs’ will include Jack L on Saturday night and Bell X1 at the stunning King John’s Castle – one of Ireland’s most unique concert venues.
Sunday’s Bon Secours Hospital Great Limerick Run, which is Ireland’s fastest growing participatory event, is another of the top features of the weekend, drawing an anticipated 13,000 people for three events – the full marathon, half marathon, 6 mile. It will also have the HOMS Fittest Company, an Expo at UL on Saturday where the UL Sport Children’s Run for Fun will also take place.
Looking ahead to the event, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Stephen Keary said: “Limerick is a city very much on the up and Riverfest is a reflection of this. It has grown and grown as a festival over the years to become not alone the biggest gathering in Ireland of the May Bank Holiday weekend by far but also one the biggest Irish summer festivals. Limerick is the largest urban centre on Ireland’s largest river so it’s only right that we would turn to it for a celebration like this.”
Said Sheila Deegan, Culture and Arts Officer with Limerick City and County Council, “The continued development and investment in Riverfest shows Limerick’s desire to grow our visitor offering. Riverfest is one of the civic festivals delivered by Limerick City and County Council to bring the May Bank Holiday Weekend to life in the city and celebrate the river. Festivals are an important way of bringing us together to share and learn about ourselves, our culture, our heritage and give confidence and voice to creative expression of all kinds. The recent investment by Limerick City and County Council into festivals is testament to the belief that they can create a sense of belonging as well as impact on the social and economic life of Limerick.”
Said Laura Ryan, Head of Marketing and Communications, Limerick City and County Council: “We’ve had a very long winter, that very much consumed the spring but we’ll be putting all that behind us with Riverfest. It’s a brilliant mix of different elements and, most of all, offers something for everyone. The fact that the last act that many who come here for the festival do as they depart is to book again for next year says a lot about Riverfest. It’s a great time for Limerick and this festival is a weekend long celebration of that.”