Clear the decks for next year because 2013 is going to be an epic one for Carrick on Shannon as it celebrates the 400th anniversary of its birth.

The town in County Leitrim – dubbed the marina capital of Ireland - has a unique spot in Irish history as well as a great geographical location, divided as it is between County Leitrim on the one side and County Roscommon on the other. Carrick on Shannon also boasts Ireland’s oldest rowing club and the second smallest chapel in the world.

The good folk there are set to unveil 12 months of events next year to mark the happy occasion. And, if some of the ideas put forward at an open meeting in the town recently are anything to go by, there is going to be something for everyone to enjoy.

The 400 celebrations, outlined by Gerry Faughnan, president of Carrick Chamber of Commerce, and Joseph Gilhooley, director of services, are due to begin on St Patrick’s Day next year and to continue for the rest of the year. There will be a big event each month supported by a number of satellite events.

It is hoped that the celebrations will attract a large number of national and international visitors to the town.

Carrick is hoping to build on the success of its already popular events like the Head of the Shannon festival, the John McGahern Summer School, the Shannon Boat Rally and the Water Music Festival.

dding to the mix, the town will also be hosting the Connacht Fleadh 2013 and will also provide a venue for the Connacht Finals of the Community Games. These two events alone will bring thousands of new visitors to the town. Add to those the possibility of a Famine Commemoration, the return of the Leitrim Roots Festival and a new Twin Traditions cross border initiative.

The committee members planning the 400th anniversary events are also considering a Leitrim Equation concert, a number of sporting events, an attempt at a world record, a literary festival, as well as Christmas markets and much more.

Carrick will also debut a specifically commissioned piece of music to coincide with other pieces of dramas and music being prepared for the town.

Carrick on Shannon is deftly establishing itself as one of the most progressive and fastest growing inland resorts in Ireland. The quality and capacity of visitor accommodation 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. The Quay area of the town has also been redeveloped to provide a modern facility for the boating community. More recently Carrick on Shannon has unveiled a new footbridge to enable the public cross the river Shannon safely and visit newly developed aspects of the town which spans into County Roscommon.

In conjunction with the 2013 Gathering initiative by Failte Ireland natives of the town and counties of Leitrim and Roscommon will be encouraged to return home and share in the experience.

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Carrick on Shannon, LeitrimGoogle Images