THERE was certainly a summer feeling in Shannon as the town’s first ever fun day got underway on May Bank Holiday Monday at the sun-drenched scenic Shannon Point.
What started out as an idea from local community members to encourage both young and old alike to take advantage of the picturesque location overlooking the River Shannon turned into an eventful day, bringing together people and groups from all walks of life.
The family friendly event, which was organised by Shannon Tidy Towns committee members Siobhan Mulderrig and Dawn Adams, started off with a history lesson at Hasting’s Cottage by Olive Carey.
Those in attendance learnt about how a British general was released from the historic cottage during the War of Independence after being held hostage for some tome.
Reminiscing on the successful day, proud Shannon man Garret McPhillips told The Clare People that a “great buzz around the place” really helped showcase everything that is good about his hometown.
“It really was a case of people from all parts of the community that wanted to help out and get involved,” he said. “The weather did help but it was the people that made it so good to be up there”.
Following the gathering at Hasting’s Cottage, both Shannon Scouts and Shannon Men’s Shed joined forces to create a ’fairy trail’ for local families to enjoy.
Up to 40 ‘fairy doors’, which were made by the local men’s shed and then painted by local children mirrored well-known locations in the town, all forming part of the scout club’s trail finding mission.
According to Mr McPhillips the ‘fun day’ was a fantastic way of bringing people together, many whom “never even knew” a place like Shannon Point existed in the town.
“There has been a big focus recently in Shannon about trying to make it look like a proper town, and this event certainly helped it do that, maybe for a day or so, but it shows that the spirit, heart and togetherness is well and alive in Shannon,” said the Shannon Tidy Towns committee member.
Involved in cleaning the area and promoting it to local residents, Garret said that as the large crowds made their way to the point on the river bank, both young and old availed of the many amenities on offer including ice cream, water and sweet stations, face painting and a tea and coffee station.
“We were then asked to make our way towards the actual point itself. Before we arrived it was like a movie. We were swayed towards a bright wooded area where there were more fairy doors and a story telling section,” he explained. “It was amazing”.
“There was a great wow factor around it and gone were the beer cans and litter, substituted for a kids dream.
“The icing on the cake was when we left the fairy forest. We were greeted with the sun from the estuary beating down on a field full of blankets.
“The tide was out so it gave people a chance to pick and find a few crabs, something the kids in Shannon would never have thought that they would of seen that day,” added Garret.
It is hoped that the event-filled fun day will now become a regular annual feature in Shannon with McPhillips predicting a treble in numbers of those attending as positive word spreads about the successful day out.
Following the event, Garret told The Clare People that several local people have already come on board to help the Tidy Town group out and upkeep the area, as he encouraged more of the younger generation to get involved in local groups such as the tidy towns and men’s shed.