Irish Festival of Speed to revisit Limerick’s racing history

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Launching the second year of the Irish Festival of Speed, co-founder Richard ODonnell says it is going to be the biggest event of its kind in four decades
PREPARATIONS for the second Irish Festival of Speed at the Limerick Racecourse are underway as the motor event takes place during the August Bank Holiday weekend.

PREPARATIONS for the second Irish Festival of Speed at the Limerick Racecourse are underway as the motor event takes place during the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The festival, which quadrupled its footfall expectations in 2011, is expected to increase figures in visitors, line-up and economic benefit this year.

Co-founder Richard O’Donnell said, after an interview with RTÉ last week at the racecourse, that this year’s festival is going to be “bigger and better”.

“It will be largest event of its kind in 40 years. We’ve been told that we generated up to €3m for the economy and we predict we’ll double that to €6m this year.

“We have everything. We have vintage cars, rally cars, motorcycles, air displays and we have 45 car clubs. We even have Nick Mason’s Aston Martin – that’s the Pink Floyd member,” the organiser said.

Mr O’Donnell said this year’s festival will focus on Limerick’s strong history in rally cars, where they will re-enact the Round of Houses Grand Prix on the Saturday, which was popular during the 1930s.

“Limerick has a rich history of racing, which goes all the way back to the 1930s. We had around five grounds for racing back then. 50,000 people, each year, would line the streets just to see these races. So, in 2011, we decided to run the tradition in Adare Manor,” he said.

The festival organisers expect for economic benefit to double in comparison to 2011, generating up to €6m. According to Mr O’Donnell, the line-up has expanded by 50%, which will make it “attractive for the wider audience”. He said the festival receives no public funding.

The co-founder revealed that the festival is working closely with the City of Culture 2014 for another festival.