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Anne Slatery, Marie Bowe and Brid Coonan, preparing for the National Flower Festival in Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly

Say it with flowers in Ennis

ENNIS will stage a prestigious event this month when the town hosts the Association of Irish Floral Artists National Flower Festival (AOIFA).
It is expected that 4,000 people will come to Ennis during the festival. The epicentre of the weekend festival will be at Ennis Catherdral and St Columba’s Church of Ireland. All funds raised from the event will be donated to the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.
AOIFA comprises 90 clubs nationwide and has approximately 6,000 members. Every two years, members nominate a charity to lend their valuable support to. The organisation has been running for 40 years and this is the first time that the national executive has been based in Ennis.
The formal festival opening ceremony will be held on Friday, June 19 at Ennis Cathedral at 8pm, with RTÉ GAA commentator and Mullagh man Marty Morrissey hosting the opening night.
More than 100 floral exhibits will be on view the following day from 11.30am to 6pm and on the Sunday from 1pm to 6pm. The exhibits will be on view in both churches.
In addition, there will be a variety concert on Saturday, June 20 at 8pm in Ennis Cathedral.
The weekend festivities will include craft tables, plant sales, home produce, trade stands and bric-a-brac in the Holy Family School Hall on the Saturday and Sunday.
Based on similar events in previous years, at different venues around the country, the Ennis economy will be boosted significantly with 4,000 visitors due to visit the county town.
The event is organised on a purely voluntary basis and AOIFA rely on the generosity of its members, family, friends and the general public to provide their time and expertise to run the likes of the weekend event.
In a statement on the upcoming festival, AOIFA appealed to the people of Clare to support the event.
“We would like to appeal to the people of Clare and surrounding counties to come along over the course of the weekend and support the event and, in particular, the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association. This group provides fantastic services on a totally voluntary basis,” the statement said.
The official closing ceremony will be held in St Columba’s Church in Bindon Street, Ennis on Sunday, June 21 at 4.30pm. Anyone wishing to donate or help the event in any way can contact Bríd on 086 6058822. Concert tickets are also available at Ennis Parish Office.

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