Leitrim Cycling Festival 2019, held in Drumsna from Friday 21st June to Sunday 23rd June, was another great success. On the banks of the river Shannon and steeped in a fascinating history, Drumsna proved to be the ideal location for the festival with it’s surrounding dense network of quiet roads and most important of all, it’s very welcoming and talented community.
The festival programme included film screenings (Jimmy’s Hall and Why We Cycle), live music from The Knotted Chords and special guests, Babz & Chris and John & Kate, dancing with Aideen Burke (a local award winning Sean-nós dancer) and local djs Fuzzz and Sweetcup, a family picnic, bike maintenance with Trailblazers, the hilarious slow bicycle race, a bike art workshop, the stunning wooden bikes handmade by local craftsman Jim Gannon, the solar powered bike built by Peter Schneider, a guided walk with local historian, Noel Duignan and of course lots of lovely cycles on the quiet roads to nearby towns and villages. There was also lots of great food, tea and delicious homemade cakes.
Leitrim Cycling Festival is organised by people with a passion for cycling, building local communities and showcasing all that this beautiful county has to offer. And its working!
Festival goers came from all over the county, all over the country and all over the world including people from Manorhamilton, Kildare, Mullingar, Dublin, Boston, New Zealand, France and more.
The feedback so far shows that the festival is not only encouraging people to get out on their bikes, it’s also demonstrating the power of communities and showcasing the beauty of the whole county of Leitrim.
Below is a selection of comments from festival goers demonstrating the impacts of the festival on tourism, transport, health, communities and more.
Aaron, a postman from Kildare, came to the festival for the first time this year with his wife and two boys said “It was also our first time to see Leitrim up close, having only driven through in the past. On Saturday we cycled the 16km loop to Carrick on Shannon, all on our own bikes. It was Mark’s (5years) longest cycle to date, about 19km including in and around town.
I really enjoyed cycling the quiet roads with children”
“Stand out favourites for me were the friendliness of all who attended both volunteers and cyclists, the various musicians be it in the pub or on street, the cycle itself and most of all I think…the quay in Drumsna, what a view!
The boys favourites were the bike dressing up, slow bike race and Mark’s longest cycle yet.
We will definitely be back again next year!”
A couple living in north Leitrim, who have recently acquired a tandem said “We absolutely loved the Leitrim Cycling festival, it was great.
I’ve actually only ever passed through Drumsna before now, so it was nice to stop and get to know the place a bit, excellent area for cycling, great network of small back roads with little traffic.
I thought the film was great and the popcorn being served out was just the icing on the cake!
I really liked the fact that it was all age inclusive, it worked really well.”
Declan from Mullingar said “My friend and I arrived just in time to join up with others for the Drumsna-Sheemore loop cycle which was one of the nicest and most scenic we have been on for years.
Fiona, who is originally from Limerick but living in New Zealand for the past 25 years said “Last year’s festival was the first time I had ever been to Leitrim, I loved it so much I came back again for this year’s festival and next week I’m taking my elderly parents for a week holiday by the canal in Leitrim Village”
A couple from Boston who found the festival while cycle touring in Ireland said on their blog “We then followed lovely back roads to Drumsna where we joined the Leitrim Bike Festival. ..it turned out to be delightful, and an inspiration to see what a small community of cyclists can do together.”
Kate, a local mum, who was inspired by the festival to get a bike seat for her 2 year old said “We loved the cycling festival and have been cycling every day since. Leitrim will cycle again!”
The festival really is helping to showcase Leitrim and get people on their bikes!
The festival organisers would like to thank all their sponsors for making this year’s festival possible – Waterways Ireland, Leitrim Tourism, Leitrim Sports Partnership, Sugru, Jim McMorrow Solicitors and Energy Efficiency Experts. Thank you also to all those who donated – Oasis Health Foods, Noel’s Bakery, Trailblazers and Showers Pass clothing. Another huge thank you to the wonderful staff of Drumsna Community Resource Centre for allowing the festival to make use of their beautiful building and of course to all the residents of Drumsna, all the fabulous volunteers and festival goers for making Leitrim Cycling Festival 2019 such a great success!
As it is a roving festival, alternating between north and south Leitrim and being held in different locations each year it is a great way to explore the county. And a community in north Leitrim have already asked the festival to come its way next year…watch this space!