A RIVER festival honouring the memory of Limerick sailor Pat Lawless will take place in the city this Sunday.
The Pat Lawless Sail and Oar Festival will honour the South Circular Road man, who made headlines in 1996 when he completed a solo circumnavigation of the world at the age of 70.
Spectators gathering along Harvey’s Quay and across to Clancy Strand will see a series of events, intended to celebrate Limerick’s boating and river culture.
Lawless’ Seadog style boat, The Loon, will set sail on the river for the first time in nearly 20 years as part of a flotilla for the event.
The festival is being organised and funded by the Mid West Regional Authority through its participation in a European Programme to develop and promote the watersports sector in region.
It is the brainchild of Limerick man Kieran Ryan, who approached the Lawless family to take part. Pat Lawless, son of the sailor, is will sail his father’s boat as part of the flotilla.
Majella O’Brien, EU Projects Officer with the MWRA, who approached Mr Ryan about organising a river event, said it was part of its ongoing efforts through the NEA2 project to develop the region’s waterways for tourism development.
“We are particularly delighted to be able to host a river festival in honour of Pat Lawless whose crossings of the Atlantic Ocean and solo circumnavigation of the world brought great pride to Limerick and the wider region,” she said.
The festival will break up the action into sail and oar events either side of the Shannon bridge.
There are three confirmed rowing races, gandelow races, and 16 kayaks on the river, while the flotilla will encompass members of the Foynes Yacht Club and many more. The Limerick Masters Swimming Club are also taking part, with up to 40 swimmers racing in Shannon.
While tide dependent, most of the action will take place between 1-4pm.