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Book Club Festival numbers up on last year

THE organisers of the Ennis Book Club Festival and Ennis Chamber are confident that the event was a great success for the town, both in financial and atmospheric terms.
The three-day festival was held in venues throughout Ennis from last Friday through to Sunday, with authors including Tim Pat Coogan, Joe Duffy, Joseph O’Connor, Paul Durcan, Eoghan Harris, Fiona Looney, David McWilliams, Lionel Shriver and Alan Titley participating in the event.
CEO of Ennis Chamber, Rita McInerney, said that from a business point of view, there was a great buzz around town at the weekend.
“The book festival is a great boost to the hospitality sector and retailers in Ennis. It has become a premium event. We are very happy at what it brought to the town in terms of business and we find that keeping the festival events within the town centre is very beneficial,” she commented.
Ennis Book Club Festival committee member, Ciana Campbell, said that attendance figures are definitely up on last year’s figures.
“We haven’t finalised the figures yet but they are clearly up on last year. The local hotels have also confirmed to us that their accommodation numbers were also up, as compared to the weekend of last year’s event. Businesses in town are also telling us that trade was good for them over the weekend. Obviously, when we were organising the festival for this year, we were concerned that it would be hit by the economic recession but that certainly hasn’t been the case, so we’re very happy,” she remarked.
She said that this level of demand shows that the festival is valued. “It is wonderful to hear people say that they will return again next year. We got a lot of feedback from people at events and they told us that they were very impressed with the welcome they got throughout Ennis, which is very positive.”
Ciana added that they also got great feedback from the authors who participated in the festival. “In particular, they said that they were impressed with the level of interaction from the audiences at events, especially the extent and quality of questions put to them. It was good to see that quite a lot of authors stayed for longer than their own event and participated in other parts of the schedule,” she commented.
She said that the rail link to Ennis also made the festival more accessible to people.
The organisers are satisfied that all of the events were well supported.
“From the feedback we got from audiences, they found the events stimulating and entertaining and some of it was very funny. There was also a significant amount of young people at events – it’s great to see them behind the festival and it is good for the future of the event,” she added.
On behalf of the organisers, she also paid tribute to the local businesses, the local authority and other local agencies for the support they gave the festival, as well as to the 40 or so volunteers, without whom the event would have not have happened.
And while the committee have barely had time to catch their breath after this year’s event, dates have already been confirmed for next year’s Ennis Book Club Festival, which will be held from March 4 to 6.

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