Last week I looked back on some of the highs and lows of 2013. Now though all attention is on 2014 and, with that in mind, I thought I’d look ahead to some of the things we have to look forward to in the year ahead.
Those who don’t follow cycling may not grasp the importance of the Giro d’Italia. Outside of the Tour de France, it is arguably one of the biggest cycling events in the world and regularly attracts a top class field of competitors. Next May, the event will be travelling through Co Louth, with the southern sprint taking place in Dundalk. To add to the prestige of the event coming here, it has already been confirmed that TV coverage of the event will take place here, opening up the area to a potential audience of 250 million – which should hopefully bring its own tourist benefits.
While next May’s Local Elections will bring an end to the likes of Dundalk Town Council, everyone should welcome the opportunity to have their say on local politics in the coming months. It’s a chance to get behind the people we believe will represent us best. A number of candidates have already declared their intentions but expect the real campaigning to begin in the coming weeks. Big changes are needed in the area and if we’re ever going to secure a commitment on them then there’s few better times to do so than in the build-up to polling day.
It won’t be long until the football season kicks-off again at Oriel Park. The last year has certainly rejuvenated the town’s appreciation and love for Dundalk FC. An away trip to neighbours Drogheda United has certainly whet the appetite for supporters for the new campaign and the signs are already promising for next season with manager Stephen Kenny retaining the bulk of last year’s squad and adding in some promising additions. Of course, what most people will be looking forward to is a return to European football. Expect a big crowd from Dundalk to travel to the game, no matter where it is, while the town itself could also benefit if a big-name club were to travel to the area.
Relay for Life
It’s hard to believe that it’s over four years since the first Relay for Life in Ireland took place in Dundalk. The events over the years have raised huge sums for cancer research and also brought about poignant memories.
The good news is that it will return this year, with Dundalk Stadium already confirmed as the new venue. A date has been pencilled in for the June Bank Holiday weekend and expect to hear plenty about it in the weeks and months ahead.
This is more aspirational than anything but I do believe we seen some green shoots of recovery last year and here’s hoping they continue into the New Year. While some businesses were lost last year, as will always be the case, there were a number of new ventures opened and hopefully more will follow in the months ahead. The numbers on the Live Register in Dundalk are falling and here’s hoping that trend can continue.
The fire on Clanbrassil Street just before Christmas devastated the area but hopefully the businesses affected can rise from the ashes and a concentration finally be put on restoring the street to its former glory.
It’s too early to know the exact particulars but here’s hoping for more big events in the Square and the town in general. They bring a feel good factor to the town and we could certainly do with a bit of that as we enter a New Year.