Limerickâ€™s Marina has welcomed its largest ever fleet of boats. A total of 36 inland water cruisers anchored at the marina at the weekend for the inaugural Limerick/Shannon estuary rally.
The rally was part of an organised boat tour to Kilrush for boating enthusiasts from all over Irelandâ€™s inland waterway system.
An early rise on Saturday and Sunday morning was required as boating enthusiasts departed from Killaloe and Ballina as early as 5.30am before heading onto Parteen Weir and Ardnacrusha and finally Limerick city marina.
Organiser of the event Noel Griffin of Inland Waterways Association Ireland said that he was â€œvery happy with the turn outâ€ and hopes that trips like these will help to build up traffic over time, creating a transit destination at Limerickâ€™s marina.
â€œThe potential is huge for the marina and the city. Itâ€™s hoped that at the next trip people will tell others about the event and in turn bring their friends where they may step out for something to eat, do a bit of shopping and maybe stay overnight,â€ he said.
Welcoming the group, Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Gerry McLoughlin said: â€œTravelling into Limerick city by boat is a stunningly beautiful experience. The Shannon is without doubt our greatest natural asset and with recent dredging works completed, I would like to invite boaters who havenâ€™t attempted cruising to Limerick before to now do so. Itâ€™s wonderful to see so much boating activity taking place and I would like to offer the warmest of Limerick welcomes to all visitors over the coming days. May you enjoy your visit to this ancient and historic city and my hope is that this will become the first of many rallies that will take place in Limerick in the years ahead.â€
Pat Lysaght who guided the boats said that it was â€œgreat to see the marina full and to have so many people out to welcome the boats on the open dayâ€.
The IWAI Rally continues onto Foynes and Kilrush and participants will return to Limerick for a weekend of celebrations starting on Saturday July 7, the highlight of which will be a major fireworks display.