Sisters Diana and Sofia Diadiajeva pictured at the Edenderry Harbour Festival presented by Edenderry Chamber of Commerce.
Thousands flocked to Edenderry over the Easter weekend to welcome the canal boats back to the town, and boaters came from all over the country to the festival, aptly named ‘The fleet to the peat’.
Oisin Feery, who won Gold and Bronze medals at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi 2019 in March led the boats into the harbour under a spectacular water arch created by the local fire station in Edenderry.
Christine Traynor Chairperson Edenderry Chamber of Commerce and John Dolan President IWAI pictured with Helen O’Dwyer and Sean O’Reilly at the Edenderry Harbour Festival
It was quite a moment as the vessels chugged into the harbour to the cheers of the crowds and delight of all who attended.
The harbour was a feast for the senses as music filled the air and various food and market vendors, face painters, bouncy castles, roaming characters and entertainers kept the children busy.
“It was an honour to finally welcome the boats back to Edenderry," said Christine Traynor, Chairperson of the Edenderry Chamber of Commerce.
"We had some very special guests and local stars who put on an amazing demonstration of all that is great about Edenderry.
"Last weekend showcased once again the positive and extra special community spirit in Edenderry. We know that the boats will continue to journey back to Edenderry Harbour and I will continue working with the Inland Waterways Association and Waterways Ireland and with the whole community to put the Canal and our Waterways higher up on the agenda.
"Edenderry Harbour can look to a bright future with having recently secured approval to compile a feasibility study for the Harbour & Banks Project Regeneration with LEADER and Community Water Funds.”
The scene as the boats arrived into Edenderry Harbour on Sunday
Greg Traynor, Ed Kenny and Owen O Reilly belted out a customised version of the famous Thin Lizzy number, ‘The boats are back in town’ as part of an impressive musical line-up on the day which included local musicians, singers from Midlands Drama School, Irish Dancers and a big showcase of local talent.
Tim Meehan, secretary of the Offaly Branch of Inland Waterways Ireland said it was best boating event he had been to in decades.
"And what made it so special was the interaction and warm welcome all the boaters got from the people of Edenderry. The fact that the people are taking such interest and pride in ‘their’ piece of the canal makes all the work worthwhile. So it is a massive well done to all involved and thank you to the Edenderry Chamber of Commerce for putting the festival together and the people of Edenderry for making us so welcome."