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Cycle gives businesses €1.5m boost

Shannon Development’s John King, assistant chief executive and Finbarr Brougham, regional manager, taking part in the Sky Ride Etape Hibernia cycle event. Photograph by Emma Jervis/Press 22BUSINESSES in Ennis reaped the benefits of up to 4,000 visitors in the county at the weekend due to the Sky Ride Etape Hibernian Cycle. Shannon Development has estimated that the event generated in the region of €1.5 million for local businesses, including eateries, hotels, bars and shops.
CEO of Ennis Chamber, Rita McInerney, said the chamber is delighted with the success of the cycle and the benefits it brought to businesses, in its first year.
“Town was certainly busy over the weekend, especially on Sunday in the Market area of Ennis. We will be carrying out a review of the event to determine the benefits to local business but I can say without a doubt that business was certainly up. Hotels and B&Bs had high occupancy rates. Of course, the Merriman Summer School was also in, which also attracted people to Ennis. There would have been up to 4,000 visitors here over the weekend due to the cycle and Shannon Development’s estimate of in the region of €1.5 million revenue generated by the cycle is accurate,” she commented.
She continued, “It was definitely a positive event for Ennis and Clare. Obviously, as with all events, there are lessons to be learned and we will take on board any feedback we are given in a bid to make the event even bigger and better next year. Sporting events is certainly the way forward for tourism in Clare. We need an integrated approach to promote such events, to capture as many visitors to Clare during them as we possibly can.
“We need to make sure that major event organisers are aware of Ennis and Clare as a potential venue. We need to ensure that businesses reap the benefits of events and that the services on offer are really good so that people really want to return again and again. We welcome any event that comes to Ennis and Clare and are very much up to the challenge of organising events and hosting them as well as we possibly can.”
The 1,800 cyclists started the 82-mile closed road cycle from the Information Age Park on the Gort Road, Ennis early on Sunday morning, taking in some of North and West Clare before returning to Ennis.
One of the participants in the cycle on Sunday was Clare’s Shannon Development regional manager, Finbar Brougham, who is based at the Information Age Park. He completed the cycle in a time of six hours and 17 minutes. Finbar has been cycling for three years, with his first cycle in aid of the Limerick Lourdes Invalid Fund in 2007.
“I cycle for charity mainly but also as part of my fitness regime. For me, it’s important to have a focus to cycle, to keep me motivated. The sports side alone doesn’t motivate me. I cycle two to three nights a week and would generally do a 25 to 30 mile round cycle. I do more approaching a longer cycle. I love the freedom of cycling and I find it’s a great way of keeping fit too. I also love the camaraderie of training with others. There is also always the sense of fulfilment of finishing a cycle, especially when it’s in aid of a charity,” Finbar said.
He admitted that he found Sunday’s cycle a real challenge but is delighted that he completed it and is intent on taking part again in the coming years.
“I’d done the Sky Etape Caledonian Challenge in Scotland in May, which was the same length, and the French cycle for the Limerick Lourdes Invalid Fund, which was a longer distance but we did that over a longer time. I’m delighted I saw the cycle through and I’d recommend others to get involved in the future,” he added.
Finbar said cycling is a great activity and pointed out that the impact on the body isn’t as severe as road running, for example. “I’d love to see more people cycling because it’s a wonderful activity and really helps me to keep fit. I feel that the Bike to Work scheme is having the hoped for positive effect and definitely more people are cycling than previously.”

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