Carrick on Shannon in County Leitrim, Ireland, (www.carrickonshannon400.ie) is preparing itself for a tourism boost of approximately €8m during 2013 as in excess of 26,000 additional visitors are expected to celebrate and take part in a major landmark in the town's history, as 2013 marks the 400th anniversary since King James 1st granted the town charter.
Visitor numbers are expected to almost double to 53,000 during 2013, resulting in an expected tourism revenue of €16m for the year.
To celebrate the historic anniversary a year-long festival programme of events is planned and will include:
. The Millennium Choir Performances (March)
. John McGahern Summer School (May)
. Carrick on Shannon Carnival 400 (June)
. Carrick Water Music Festival (June)
. Connaught Fleadh (July)
. Shannon Boat Rally (July)
. Literary Heritage Week (September)
. Leitrim Roots Festival (September)
. National Hot Air Balloon Championship (September)
. Sessions on the Shannon (October)
. Carrick on Shannon 400 Closing Ceremony (November)
In tandem with 'The Gathering' initiative Carrick on Shannon natives from all over the globe are being encouraged to return to the town along with tourists from within and outside of Ireland to join in the celebrations. Leitrim is home to 30,000 people with Carrick on Shannon at its heart, but its reach is well beyond that with a Diaspora estimated at over 4 million across the globe. A dedicated website www.carrickonshannon400.ie is available providing the latest information on news and events taking place through the 2013 celebrations.
Outlining the importance of the Carrick on Shannon 400 celebrations to the people of the town and of county Leitrim, Jackie Maguire County Manager, Leitrim County Council said "The 400 Anniversary celebrations are a great opportunity to showcase Carrick on Shannon and all its wonderful attributes to a worldwide audience. We hope to welcome an additional 26,000 visitors from near and far to the town during 2013. I would encourage anyone considering visiting Ireland or taking a holiday at home this year to think of Carrick on Shannon, visit our website and let us treat you to a traditional Leitrim welcome!"