The newly elected Chair of Tipperary TIRD/Chamber of Commerce, Shane Kelly, has promised that the impressive Tipperary town festival ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”, will be the model for next year’s festival in the town.
“There has been tremendously positive feedback from people who had enjoyed this year’s festival. It was like the festival gave people a much-needed boost when there is so much doom and gloom about,” said Mr. Kelly at the recent AGM of the TIRD/Chamber.
Promising to use the festival as a model for future events, Shane believes that the key to the success of the ‘It’s Long Way to Tipperary’ festival was the level of voluntary effort that was contributed by so many people. “I’d like to pay particular tribute to Elaine Fitzpatrick, who led the work of these volunteers in her capacity as then chair of the TIRD/Chamber of Commerce. It is an honour, and a challenge, to take up where she has left off.”
One particular aspect of the festival that was very popular was the involvement of lots of people invited to dress up in vintage costumes allowed so many more people to participate actively in the festival. People showed great creativity and enthusiasm for the vintage theme and Mr. Kelly said that this aspect of the festival would definitely be considered for future years.
Shane Kelly originally hails from County Wexford and has been very impressed with his new home in Tipperary. “I have been very impressed with the level and quality of voluntary activity in Tipperary and this is something I want to support and encourage even more during my term as chair of the TIRD/Chamber. There is a long standing self help ethos in Tipperary encouraged by the Land League in the 1890’s, Muintir na Tire, Community Radio, Canon Hayes Sports Centre, Excel Centre etc, all of which were/are community driven. If we can harness that energy there are virtually no limits to the ways in which we can improve life in the town and surrounding areas.”
The new chairperson said that he would like to broaden the direct involvement by people in the TIRD/Chamber and develop it as a vehicle to allow people who have a passion for the area to contribute directly to its future and that he was looking forward to working with the other officers who were elected on the night. He noted that there is a wealth of experience and proven commitment to the town and the area among the elected officers. Sharon O’Dwyer was elected to the position of Secretary, Brian English will perform the Treasurer role and Tim Ryan has taken on responsibility for Public Relations and Vice Chairperson is Ken Kingston.
Mr. Kelly stressed the importance of maintaining our involvement with the Economic Steering Group, the continuing efforts to lobby the various bodies to create employment in the area and the ongoing efforts to expedite the N24 project and the provision of the relief road around the town. He also spoke of his enthusiasm for the development of greater tourism in Tipperary town, possibly with a heritage theme.
“The name of Tipperary is known all over the world but we don’t really provide a ‘Tipperary experience’ for visitors. I would be anxious to explore the possibility of building an active tourist experience around our existing heritage facilities, such as the courthouse and the jail/prison known as the Bridewell on St Michael Street. I am really looking forward to the next year and I hope my efforts, with all of the various other volunteers will again lift the town and make it an even better place in which to work and live. I would encourage everyone and anyone who feels they may have something to contribute to talk to me or to any of the other people involved and together we can get the ball rolling on some exciting projects for the town and surrounding area.”