Temperatures set to soar and a big homecoming splash for Special Olympics Hero Oisin Feery at the Edenderry Harbour Festival | Saturday April 20th 2019 | Edenderry | Co. Offaly
Temperatures set to soar and a big homecoming splash for Special Olympics Hero Oisin Feery at the Edenderry Harbour Festival
Saturday April 20th 2019 | Edenderry | Co. Offaly
On Saturday April 20th, Edenderry will give a very warm welcome back to the vibrant boating community as they make a much-anticipated return to Edenderry this Easter weekend. One of the highlights of the festival will be a big homecoming splash for local hero, Oisin Feery, who won Gold and Bronze medals at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi 2019 in March. Oisin is Olympics Gold medal winner in 200mtr sprint kayaking and bronze medal winner in 500mtr sprint kayaking. He first kayaked at 9rs of age at the Ballycommon Canal Renewal Group annual BBQ. He is a member of Tullamore Canoe Club ever since. He's also a member of Ballinamere Special Olympics Club. He's also the current leinster and Irish 200mtr and 500mtr gold medalist. He's sitting the leaving cert next year and is currently training as a kayaking instructor.
Now we are being told by Met Eireann that temperatures are set to soar with highs of 20C for Easter Bank Holiday weekend so even the sun will be out to welcome back the boats to Edenderry! The Edenderry Chamber of Commerce has been working closely with The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland since last October and excitement is now at fever pitch to the tune of ‘The boats are back in town!’ for the Edenderry Harbour Festival proudly sponsored by Solus Light bulbs. Rumour has it that Greg Traynor and Ed Kenny will belt out a customised version of the famous Thin Lizzy number as part of an impressive musical line-up on the day which will include local musicians, singers from Midlands Drama School, Irish Dancers and a big showcase of local talent.
“As Chairperson of Edenderry Chamber I am delighted and honoured to welcome Oisin Feery to Edenderry this Saturday 20th at our Harbour Festival to welcome the Boats back.” Said Christine Traynor “Oisin is an inspiration, and has proven that anything is possible. Winning two medals is a hugely impressive achievement… and we hope that a huge crowd will welcome Oisin this Saturday as well as welcoming the boats home.”
The highlight of the event will be a beautiful procession or ‘flotilla’ of boats down the canal and into the harbour under a water arch created by the local Fire Brigade. Boaters are coming from all over the country and some are already on their way to the festival, aptly named ‘The fleet to the peat’ by the boating community! The Boats will be all dressed up for the occasion with a prize for the Best Dressed Boat, sponsored by the Station House. It will be a day for celebration as Oisin is honoured and there will also be a warm welcome for the 905’s Cycling Club’s “Pat Jones Memorial Cycle 2019”who will arrive back into Edenderry from 3pm onwards and make a presentation to ‘Football for All’ on the Harbour Festival stage
The harbour area in Edenderry will be a feast for the senses as music fills the air and various food and market vendors sell their wares. Face painters, bouncy castles, roaming characters and entertainers will keep the children busy and the boaters will have information boards on display and a rare Bollinder engine display. The Edenderry Harbour Festival is an opportunity to give the boating community a very warm Edenderry welcome, encourage them to come back during the season and position the town as a ‘Gateway to the Hidden Heartlands’
Spokesperson available for interview on request
The Grand Canal, which connects Dublin to the Shannon was Constructed between 1755 -1802. There was a major engineering problem encountered when trying to cross the Bog of Allen in the midlands (bog that lies on the Rathangan Road and extends all the way beyond Daingain) as a canal had never been successfully built on a bog anywhere before. Much debate, surveys and engineering designs were considered in 1775, before the final route north of the bog, skirting Edenderry, was agreed. The final decision was most likely influenced by Lord Downshire who owned large estates and Edenderry at the time. He in turn paid for the building of the Edenderry Branch Canal, 1 Mile long, built 1797 - 1802, at a cost of £692.00 The canal opened up commercial trade and shipment of goods, to and from Dublin and the rest of Ireland, was in continuous commercial use up from 1802 to 1960 when commercial trade ceased.
The canal was effectively abandoned in the 1960’s and became weeded up to the point of closure.
In the 1960’s the Inland Waterways Association was formed and managed to stop the impending closure of the canals and refocused Government attention as to their potential as a leisure and tourist potential giving them a new lease of life. The association formed local branched to encourage use of the canals and prevent them falling into disrepair. This was mainly exercised by the running of annual boats rallies that are held annually to ensure that the canals are maintained to a navigable condition.
Hence the importance of Canal Boat Rallies!!!