Grand Canal Offaly Floating Festival Was A Celebration To Remember –  Click on the link below to read the Tullamore Tribune report on Offaly I.W.A.I Gathering “Trading Families of The Grand Canal Reunion” in the DEW visitor centre and their many other canal related activities.


2 festivals over two weekends – join the Grand Canal Offaly Floating Festival and the Harvest Offaly Food Festival 2013

Offaly IWAI look forward to holding their 2013 Gathering in Tullamore between Friday 13th and Sunday 22nd September.

The Gathering will celebrate canal trading culture and the links to this that are still within the Offaly Community. It is aimed at the dispersed members of the canal trading families that live abroad having emigrated a couple of generations ago as canal trade declined along with those with present links to the canal through business, pleasure and canal history.

The event will coincide with the Harvest Offaly Food Festival and together will offer visitors to the town a wide programme of events.

The programme of events will include Offaly historical exhibitions, canal photography competition, historical canal talks, a canal focused Tullamore Toastmasters meeting, beer and whiskey tasting events, heritage canal boats, BBQ’s, cheese and wine reception, boat cruises, canal drama, best dressed boat, best illuminated boat, and a commemorative publication featuring tales from the young people in St Mary’s Youth Centre linked to the trading families of the Grand Canal.

The Harvest Festival will be celebrating all that is good regarding Offaly food produce with a special Grand Canal Board walk dinner at the new boardwalk at the Tullamore Dew Visitors Centre, organic and artisan food markets, cookery demonstrations, and all the restaurants, bars and cafes will have special offers for the duration of the festival along with a music trail in the local hostelries.

It is expected that this event will follow the success of the previous Offaly IWAI events in Tullamore including the three in a row Float to the Fleadh and last year’s Boat to the Banjo Festival.

Offaly IWAI have strong associations with other local peer groups such as the 107B Canal Group, Ballycommon Canal Renewal Group, Kilbeggan Harbour Amenity Group, the Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Group along with other IWAI branches and the Heritage Boat Association and welcomes the support of all these groups for this project along with the support of all the canal communities both East and west of Tullamore.

In an effort to tap into the Shannon based boat traffic and promote tourism on the canal, Silverline and Waveline Shannon based boat hire companieshave deals available to potential hirers who will not only get the benefit of a lovely relaxing holiday on the water but also have accommodation in the heart of Tullamore for the Gathering event all from the comforts of their hire boat.

Silverline Cruisers, Banagher “Special Offer” – for cruising to the Festival – Cruise Hire September 2013 – 15% discount of all weekly hire5 night for the price of only 3.

Contact: Silverline Cruisers – Phone 057 9151112 or info@silverlinecruisers.com

Waveline Cruisers Ltd. Glasson, Athlone “Special Offer” – for cruising to theFestival – 20% discount.Contact: Waveline Cruisers Ltd. – Phone090-6485711 or http://www.waveline.ie

So put the dates in your diary, Friday 13th and Sunday 22nd September and bring your boat to the Gathering in Tullamore to enjoy all the wide range of events planned over the 10 day celebrations.

Some of the events during The Gathering Festival include:

·Photography Competition – Announcement of winner on 22nd Sept – Prize sponsored by Slieve Bloom Photography Club – Pictures available to view in the Library, O’Connor Square during the week. Competition open to all.

·Junior Fishing Competitionon 21stSeptember – 2 to 4pm.

·“Saoirse ar an Uisce” Barge Tours on 14th 15th, 21st & 22nd Sept-Contact Michael O’Hanlon 086 1685763

·Offaly Labels/Memorabilia Exhibitionin the Library on 13th – 22nd Sept.

·Gathering Grand Canal Trading Families on Saturday 21st Sept in TheTullamore Dew Visitors Centre

·Tullamore Canoe Club water polo demonstrationEvent to take place between the two new bridges east of Kilbeggan bridge on 21st September from 12 to 2.00 pm.

·Fiona’s Way Memorial Family Event Day -on Sun 22ndSeptember Fun run/walk,tug-o-war over the canal comprising teams from local pubs and businesses.Family eventssuch as rubber duck races, egg and spoon races, bouncy castle, face painting, prize wheel, magic show, hook-a-duck, steady hand, fortune teller, three legged race, target dunk, stilt walkers and live music etc.

·Tullamore Amateur Drama Society (TADS) performance -The CanalMonologues pop up theatre at surprise venues

·Toastmasters meeting – on Thursday 19th Sept – with canal and waterways theme

·Waterways Barbeque& Music- on Sat night 21st Sept in Hugh Lynch’s Pub.

·Publication& launch for Grand Canal Summer Camp publication

·Harvest Offaly Food Festival

The main food festival events take place on the weekend of Friday 13th to Sunday 15th September, while the hotels, restaurants, gastro-pubs, cafés and B & B’s will showcase our local foods on their menus for the entire week.

Local and International visitors to Tullamore, Birr, and throughout Offaly will enjoy a festival steeped in culinary heritage and learn about the traditional, dishes and foods associated with the Midlands of Ireland.

Experience our opening Street Celebrations, browse our Artisan Food and Craft markets, be captivated by our fabulous Food talks, and immerse yourself in our Cookery Demonstrations by local & visiting chefs and foodie figures.  Enjoy our “Beat the Celebs”dine at our long-table Harvest Festival Dinner on the canal banks and join our restaurant Food Trails!

We have a range of exciting events and demonstrations for the children to enjoy. The Harvest Offaly Food Festival also feature lots of Cultural attractions, such as music, dancing, heritage and outdoor activities.

Offaly Branch of IWAI – encouraging use and promotion of the Grand Canal with the gathering 2013


St Mary’s Canal Camp for Kids – looks for tales and stories of the Grand Canal for

The Grand Canal Offaly Floating Festival.

St. Mary’s Youth Centre is looking for twenty to thirty 9 – 12 year olds to be involved in producing a publication on the Grand Canal in the Tullamore area, over a FREE two day workshop on Monday and Tuesday 15th & 16th of July from 10 am to 3 pm each day.

The project will focus on the Grand Canal, it’s history, it’s association with the Tullamore and Offaly and hopefully recount tales and stories of people who would have had an association with the canal or the associated industries. The project is a lead in element of the Grand Canal Offaly Floating Festival that takes place on 13 to 22 September 2013, and a publication of the what is researched in the workshop will be launched during the festival.

Workshop participants are expected to do some homework before the two days of learning about the canal and its history from a Tullamore perspective. Maybe you have a relative that worked or knows about the canal and can tell one of their stories?

If you are interested please contact the centre on 057-9322963 or ring Bill on 086-1505822 ASAP. In the event of over subscription a maximum of 30 names will be drawn from those interested. This is a collaborative project between the Offaly Branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland and St. Mary’s Youth & Community Centre

The September festival is a “Gathering” event, to celebrate canal trading culture with a special focus on the Trading Families of the Grand Canal. If your family has a connection with the Grand Canal and you would like to be involved in celebrating the trading families of the Grand Canal, please contact Offaly IWAI by emailing johndolan@iwai.ie with your contact details.

So put the dates in your diary, Friday 13th through to Sunday 22nd September and join the Gathering in Tullamore to enjoy all the wide range of events planned over the 10 day celebrations of both festivals.   -Ends-

Some pics of young participants of StMarys Youth Club.