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Record Numbers Attend Fifth Taste Of Roscrea Festival

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Record Numbers Attend Fifth Taste Of Roscrea Festival thumbnailImitation snow turned Roscrea into a festive wonderland for the Taste of Roscrea Festival last week. Children are pictured enjoying themselves playing around a snowman. MT4935PJW

ROSCREA TOWN CENTRE burst into life last weekend for the fifth annual 'A Taste of Roscrea' Christmas Festival, which attracted record numbers of visitors to Roscrea from all over the country.
People travelled from as far as Cork and Westmeath to attend the event, with notably high numbers of Galway people visiting Roscrea for the Festival - which saw Roscrea Castle and Damer House turn white with very convincing fake snow.
Children visiting Roscrea Castle to meet Santa could not believe their eyes, as their dream Christmas winter wonderland unfolded before them, with pony rides through Christmas tree lined avenues and plumes of beautiful soft snow falling upon them made it a Christmas they will never forget.
Ruddy cheeked grown-ups were treated to a gallery of festive delights, with hot chocolate and seasonal delights available around every corner of the Christmas market erected in the grounds of the Castle, where a myriad of bargains and beautiful one-off pieces of handmade arts and crafts were available at every stall.
The backdrop to the Festival, Roscrea Castle, never looked as beautiful, as search lights roamed the skies around the Castle walls illuminating the dry soft snow, which was perpetually softly falling over the event and a veritable forest of Christmas trees erected in the Castle yard.
So many people visited the town that throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday it was difficult to find parking anywhere in the town centre, with an estimated 7,000 people attending the event on Friday alone.
Even the weather proved to be in seasonal humour throughout, adding greatly to the number of visitors who flocked to Ireland's third oldest town to sample the festive delights - in what has already become a firm seasonal favourite of the midlands events calendar and nominated as one of Ireland's top ten not to be missed Christmas events.
Stall trading was so good that a new record was set and all trade stands operators reported a very positive result, with a good mix of local stands and others from around the country.
Damer House was also featuring an exhibition organised by Thierry Rudin and officially launched by Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, featuring work by local artists and many accomplished painters, including Mary Dillon, whose much loved intricate floral pieces always delight visitors.
The event was also very well run, with local group the Roscrea Men's Shed keeping the Castle complex and all corners of the town immaculately clean for visitors and shoppers, while the festive atmosphere was kept alive by beautiful choir singing from all the local schools and several local organisations.
Chairman of the organising Committee behind the event and local Councillor, Michael Smith, told the Tribune that when the committee began this journey five years ago they could never have envisaged the spectacular success its become.
'A town filled with traffic and people, record numbers of visitors from everywhere, good business, children queuing for Santa and full houses for the night time activities to raise funds for worthy causes,' is how the Chairman described the success.
'The most exciting and interesting aspect of this development was the degree to which the County Council, through the Enterprise Board, has come full square behind the project. Not only that, but plans are now moving to give similar support to other towns.
'I have always believed that the harvesting of community initiatives and displaying our very best could be replicated in other towns, where there is the will and determination to do so. The people of Nenagh and Cahir will come forward with their own distinctive ventures and I wish them every success,' he said.
The Chairman said that every year the Committee try to have something different on display.
'While the main feature will always be the exhibitors, Santa Claus and the evening festivities to raise funds for schools and clubs, the setting that we are fortunate to have in the Castle grounds gives rise to explorative efforts to attract more visitors,' he said.
'The advent of Franc and the snow was something to see and experience. So many people commented favourably and the children just loved it. Outside the gates, all the way from Stephens Barracks in Kilkenny, two Mowag Carriers, used to support our troops in dangerous situations on missions abroad, were a huge attraction and many thanks to all the Defence personnel for their co-operation and support,' Cllr Smith said.
'This year too was no exception in community orientated exhibits. The residents of Gleann Glas, Roscrea, gave months preparing for their display of crochet made decorations and baby clothes. This is an example of the type of initiative that we want to encourage other groups to follow,' he said.
'As the snow begins to melt on the Taste of Roscrea's colourful Christmas market and festivities, my heartfelt thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this year's event the biggest and best so far. The success of an event like this depends on and has received huge support from the local community and further afield.
'I am immensely proud and grateful for this. As a non-profit making committee, we were again very happy to witness the attendances at the night time events, raising funds this year for Scoil Iosef Naofa, Corville and the Roscrea Juvenile Club. Over €40,000 has been raised in the last five years for schools and community projects in the area. Final word of thanks to the officials in the OPW, local Gardaí, the Men's Shed, the Red Cross and all the volunteers who contributed so much to this event,' Cllr Smith said.

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