THE 147th annual INTO Congress, held in Ennis last week, had a “positive” outcome for the town’s retail and hospitality sectors, with practically every bed in the town full to accommodate the 850 delegates, their guests and family members for the three-day event.
Boutique and clothing retailers in the town, who had enticing offers, reported that the primary school teachers kept their tills ticking over an²²d hotel and guesthouses were full, while cafés and restaurants benefited from the large number of visitors soaking up the spring sunshine and strolling along the medieval lanes and streets.
Ennis Chamber interim CEO, Alec Fleming reported that his members were happy with the business generated during the teachers’ conference and described the feedback he had received from chamber members as positive.
“The feedback from the INTO delegates and officials was very good. The weather was also exceptional and there were definitely people in shopping in Ennis. Practically all the beds in town were taken up so, on that side, it couldn’t have been stronger, while the boutiques and clothes shops had a very positive three days,” Mr Fleming said.
“The effects of a conference like this will not just be short-term and we have quite a few groups that we’re delighted to welcome this year,” he added.
Ennis is expecting a number of busy events over the next five or six months, beginning with the 2015 Irish National Chess Club Championships, which takes place in the West County Hotel on April 25 and 26. In May, as many as 800 delegates are expected to attend an IMPACT conference, while the Probus Clubs of Ennis will host a rally in the middle of the month, before Fleadh Nua takes centre stage from May 17 to 25.
The AOIFA National Flower Festival takes place in Ss Peter and Paul’s Cathedral and St Columba’s Church, from June 19 to 21, in support of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and this major event is expected to see thousands in attendance.
The ICTU national congress in July will bring another 900 delegates to Ennis and this will be followed by a huge influx for the Merriman Summer School from August 12 to 16.
With that level of activity, the town and surrounding areas can expect a financially bountiful summer.
By Ron Kirwan