I think it would be fair to say that Ranelagh Arts Festival 2006 was a great success.
It is said that it usually takes a new festival four to five years to embed itself in a community, but I hope that I am not being presumptuous in saying we have achieved this in just two years. I think we have created an enormous reservoir of goodwill for the future of the festival amongst the community of Ranelagh.
This year, it was impossible to ignore the festival and we attracted record numbers to all our events – indeed, many of our events were sell-outs. All involved in the festival deserve great credit and I hope the blood, sweat and tears that were shed will not go unrecognised by the community!
Our programme was superb and deserves the highest accolades. A highlight of the festival for me was the Open Day in Ranelagh Gardens, which went ahead despite monsoon conditions – who can ever forget the brave kids of Ranelagh, soldiering through the deluge and the brilliant programme of events that went on following the parade? I also have to mention walking around the village on Sunday afternoon and meeting droves of people on their way to and from festival events.
Our publicity – through distribution of the programme, the AA Ireland brochure and Choice magazine – brought word of the festival to every household in the area. Our posters, banners and bunting gave the village a festive feel and the various mentions we got on the radio and in the press spread the word far beyond local boundaries.
Great support for the festival came from local businesses, through varying degrees of sponsorship, which we hope all concerned will feel was worthwhile. A special mention must be made of our major sponsors: AA Ireland, Young’s Auctioneers, McSorley’s, our local Credit Union, Morton’s of Dunville Avenue, Choice magazine, Dublin City Council and the Arts Council. To secure this sponsorship, committee members put in a huge effort and, indeed, hard work in all the areas covered by our committee yielded magnificent results.
Ken Doherty and Ciarán Tourish gave us exceptional support, as did Dublin City Council, who – apart from financial support – was also right behind us in so many other ways. Thank you to Frank Lambe, Leo Fitzpatrick and, especially, Ronan O’Donnell.
Thank you also to our local schools and churches, who allowed us to use their fabulous facilities, and to the many, many individuals who went out of their way to give us help and support.
We had a long and difficult year, but in the end we produced the goods.