Businesses in south Donegal will enjoy a big boon this weekend, with the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships and Donegal Bay Maritime Festival expected to add an additional €1m to the area’s economy.
More than 2,000 rowers and at least as many supporters are already arriving for the championships, which take place at the Lakeside Centre, Ballyshannon, from Friday to Sunday.
In addition, there will be a host of activities in Donegal Town, with the first ever Donegal Bay Maritime Festival, from 2pm on Saturday and Sunday, mostly centred at the pier. All proceeds are in support of Events Against Suicide.
Accommodation from Bundoran to Donegal Town was booked out within days of Ballyshannon being chosen as this year’s host venue for the rowing championships.
Hosts Donegal Bay Rowing Club campaigned hard to secure the event, assisted by Barney McLaughlin and Joy Harron of Donegal County Council as well as Fáilte Ireland.
Seamus Maguire, chairman of Donegal Bay Rowing Club, said club members have been hard at work for more than a year and are looking forward to an extremely hectic but rewarding event.
“The experts have told us the championships will bring in at least €1m to the local economy. And that’s just the immediate spin off. The finals on Sunday will be streamed live over the internet to around 90,000 people as well. This means phenomenal publicity for Donegal.”
Securing the event, he says, is “our way of saying thank you to all the local businesses who have so generously in their support over the years.” He said the late Jim White was especially good to the club.
He also thanked Donegal County Council, Cllrs John Campbell, Noel Jordan and Barry O'Neill, Fáilte Ireland, the Lakeside Centre and all the local clubs.
Emer Keon, at the Lakeside Centre, said it’s been “all hands on deck” there for the last week. “There’s a great buzz. It’s a huge boost for Ballyshannon and the area.”