Limerick Riverfest 2016 – A spectacular fireworks display over the River Shannon will transform the skies of Limerick into an explosion of colour. Limerick 2020 lit up the night sky with a fire drawing in the front of the castle during the fireworks display. Picture: Sean Curtin FusionShooters.
Thousands of visitors flocked to Limerick, European Capital of Culture 2020 candidate city, over the May Bank Holiday weekend for Riverfest 2016, the city’s premier summer festival which featured a spectacular fireworks display last night.
More than 40,000 people enjoyed the festival as Limerick hosted some of the world’s top watersport performers and a full programme of action packed activities and events.
The world’s top flyboarder – 2016 Ladies Flyboard champion and stunt queen Gemma Weston was the star of the weekend as she headlined the bill with dramatic displays performing for the first time in Ireland.
Her mid air aquabatics were a treat for the thousands of spectators who also enjoyed performances from Ireland’s David O’Caoimh, one of the world’s top wakeboarders and the British Freestyle Jet Ski Championship winning team of Craig Halloway, Chris Ames and David Herridge.
Food was one of the core ingredients of this year’s festival menu and the team from Sareva Bistro, Corbally, Limerick were crowned overall winners of Limerick’s Riverfest BBQ competition for the second year in a row. Chefs Mark Irwin and Jonathan Flannery will now go on to represent Ireland at the World BBQ Association European Championships which take place in Germany in September 2016.
This year’s Riverfestival Village was a treat for all the family with food, craft, retail stalls and stunning vintage amusements set against the backdrop of the glistening River Shannon in Arthur’s Quay Park. Fantastic fringe events also took place across the city including comedy, theatre, gigs aswell as EVA International, Ireland’s biennial of contemporary art.
Yesterday (Sunday), close on 14,000 runners participated in the Barrington’s Hospital Great Limerick Run, a 10k, half marathon and marathon event which took in many of the historical and scenic sights across Limerick.
Now the largest participation event outside of Dublin, the Run featured entries from all 32 counties of Ireland and over 20 countries with musical acts from marching bands, gospel choirs, traditional music and DJs entertaining participants along the route.
“You can only be proud of what has been achieved by Riverfest and Limerick now owns the May Bank Holiday weekend at a national level from a festivals point of view,” said Cllr Liam Galvin, Mayor of Limerick City and County. “It’s the top destination nationwide for this first weekend of the summer with plenty of repeat visitors coming to stay and enjoy Limerick again and again. Riverfest has become a big income generator for local business, with the event now the most important of the year for accommodation providers. I was particularly delighted to see so much focus on the River Shannon this year, our greatest natural asset, and I’m sure the thousands of spectators for the weekend’s events thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”
A highlight of the festivities was a spectacular fireworks display last night (Sunday) and a Limerick 2020 fire-drawing which was lit against the backdrop of King John’s Castle.
“The weekend showed that Limerick can host major events of scale and bring people together creating a sense of belonging in a city that is full of multiplicity,” said Sheila Deegan, Deputy Director, Limerick 2020. “We’re delighted with the success of Riverfest 2016 which truly showcased the very best of Limerick life.”
Riverfest is run on behalf of Limerick City and County Council and Limerick 2020 by Grooveyard Event Management. Riverfest 2016 sponsors include; The Maldron Hotel, Limerick’s Live 95 FM, The Limerick Post, The Limerick Leader, Mr Binman, Fire & Food, Arthur’s Quay Shopping Centre, Irish BBQ Association, and Dolans.