Carrick on Shannon in county Leitrim is preparing itself for a tourism boost of approximately €8m during 2013 as in excess of 26,000 additional visitors are expected to celebrate and take part in a major landmark in the town’s history, as 2013 marks the 400th anniversary since King James 1st granted the town charter.

Visitor numbers are expected to almost double to 53,000 during 2013, resulting in an expected tourism revenue of €16m for the year.
To celebrate the historic anniversary a year-long festival programme of events was officially opened today by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in Carrick on Shannon. President Higgins was joined by a host of choirs, dancers and local dignitaries for the opening event which culminated in a lantern and fireworks display on the banks of the river Shannon.
Speaking President Michael D. Higgins said, “Here in twenty first century Carrick on Shannon, we have a striking example of what can be achieved when we combine the richest moments from our past with the wonderful possibilities offered by the present moment; when we are capable of constantly reimagining, re-crafting and discerning new visions while retaining all that was best about our shared history. It is inspiring to see how - throughout these lovely streets - a quiet wisdom merges with a vigorous energy, creating  a seamless intertwining of the past and present, each playing their part in creating a distinct place rich with unique characteristics; a town proud of its past but also sufficiently confident to engage with the complexities of modern life.”
In tandem with 'The Gathering' initiative Carrick on Shannon natives from all over the globe are being encouraged to return to the town along with tourists from within and outside of Ireland to join in the celebrations. Leitrim is home to 30,000 people with Carrick on Shannon at its heart, but its reach is well beyond that with a Diaspora estimated at over 4 million across the globe. A dedicated website is available providing the latest information on news and events taking place through the 2013 celebrations.
The 400th anniversary celebrations will begin in February 2013 when Carrick on Shannon Rowing Club, the oldest rowing club in Ireland (177 years old in 2013) hosts the ‘Head of the Shannon’ on the 23rd February which will see rowers from across Ireland compete.  

Other events include:
The Millennium Choir Performances (March)
John McGahern Summer School (May)
Carrick on Shannon Carnival 400 (June)
Carrick Water Music Festival (June)
Connaught Fleadh (July)
Shannon Boat Rally (July)
Literary Heritage Week (September)
Leitrim Roots Festival (September)
National Hot Air Balloon Championship (September)
Sessions on the Shannon (October)
Carrick on Shannon 400 Closing Ceremony (November)
Outlining the importance of the Carrick on Shannon 400 celebrations to the people of the town and of county Leitrim, Jackie Maguire County Manager, Leitrim County Council said “This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the people and the town of Carrick on Shannon. The 400 Anniversary celebrations are a great opportunity to showcase Carrick on Shannon and all its wonderful attributes to a worldwide audience. We hope to welcome an additional 26,000 visitors from near and far to the town during 2013 which will provide a very significant economic boost to the region. I would encourage anyone considering visiting Ireland or taking a holiday at home this year to think of Carrick on Shannon, visit our website and let us treat you to a traditional Leitrim welcome!”
Speaking about the dramatic change and development in Carrick on Shannon, Sinead McDermott, Leitrim Tourism said, “The marina capital of Ireland, Carrick on Shannon boasts an impressive array of tourist facilities focused around the river Shannon. Over the last ten years tourism, business and community groups have worked together to redevelop the town so that the river Shannon is now the centre point of Carrick on Shannon’s Tourism offering.”
McDermott expanded, “Putting in a national and international tourism context, Carrick on Shannon is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most progressive and fastest growing inland resorts in Ireland. The quality and capacity of visitor accommodation stock has more than doubled in the past number of years while there has been a significant addition to the range in visitor attractions and activities with many additional all weather and family options. Quite simply there have never been as many people coming to Carrick on Shannon.”
Carrick on Shannon 400 is a Leitrim County Council initiative supported by Leitrim Tourism, Carrick on Shannon Chamber and the local community.
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