Riverfest brings big boost to Limerick traders with takings hike of up to 50% reported

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Dominic Phelan, Ballinacurra Weston, enjoys the Riverfest Village, on what was a huge weekend in Limerick Picture: Sean Curtin/True Media

Dominic Phelan, Ballinacurra Weston, enjoys the Riverfest Village, on what was a huge weekend in Limerick Picture: Sean Curtin/True Media

A LIMERICK businessman has called for the Council to put more money behind its events marketing after up to 100,000 people hit the city for Riverfest 2018.

City centre retailers have enjoyed a huge early summer boost, with Limerick’s main festival enjoying bright sunshine and warm temperatures.

The organisers have predicted that Limerick’s economy could benefit by up to €7m from the event.

James Ryan, who runs Centra in O’Connell Street, revealed his trade rose by 50% above the average Sunday.

And it revealed to him that Limerick can truly be a place to “live, work and play”.

“It’s a great place to go out, a very safe place to go out in. People want to come to the city centre and use it. The Council needs to develop its marketing around this. People are willing to come if we do enough for them,” he said.

Mr Ryan believes not enough goes towards events, adding: “Any time we put on an event such as Riverfest, we get a bounce from it.”

There was a n-ice boost for Shane Gleeson, who runs Gleeson's Spar in Catherine Street, as he revealed he sold a month’s worth of Mr Whippy ice-creams in a single day, as the sun beamed down on the city.

“We had a situation where we had to get in extra stock as we ran out of ice cream. We spoke to the gardai and they facilitated us to get through during a quiet period,” he said.

Mr Gleeson praised the Council authorities for restoring access to the roads quickly after the Great Limerick Run was complete.

“From a traders’ point of view, this was really important. They literally had the trucks picking up the barriers no more than five minutes after the last runner,” he told The Leader.

As a result of the weekend, Mr Gleeson said his trade had risen by some 20%.

Helen O’Donnell of the Hunt Museum cafe also enjoyed a bounce, with her outlet opening extended hours on Sunday to cater for the huge influx of people to the centre.

“It was excellent, really, really good. The city seemed to be busier than any other Riverfest. Overall, the economic benefit would have been enormous for the city. Anybody who hasn’t been able to take advantage of it missed out. Anyone in business would have done really well,” she said.

Mr Ryan believes the scenes he witnessed on Sunday suggest “the economy is back up and running”.

“Arthur’s Quay on Sunday was buzzing. People were getting cashback to get access to cash as they did not want to queue up,” he added.

Deputy mayor, Cllr Marian Hurley said: “There was just so much happening and plenty of free activities and events to keep all ages happy. I was particularly delighted to see so much people turn out to support all the participants.”