The eyes of the world will be on Cashel for St Patrick’s Day next year, if plans presented to Cashel Town Council on Monday come to fruition.
Cashel may re-live the magic of 2008’s Skyfest, with lasers, fireworks, and a lighting projections for the Rock forming the centrepiece of ‘The Gathering’ - a homecoming for Ireland’s diaspora sponsored by Fáilte Ireland.
With the working title ‘Cashel Rocks’, Peter Canning told Councillors his company High Resolution Lighting hope to create a seven-day international TV spectacle on the Rock of Cashel with the aim of attracting up to 40,000 visitors to the heritage town.
France has the Eiffel Tower, England has Big Ben, and Ireland has the iconic Rock of Cashel, said Mr Canning. “The Rock is the centre of St Patrick’s story, and the birthplace of the Shamrock symbol. The Rock is the symbol of Ireland,” said Mr Canning.
High Resolution Ireland have spearheaded such events as the Skyfest 2008, the Eurovision ‘09, and major rock and sporting events. “There is no large pinnacle event for Ireland,” added Mr Canning. “There is no international competition from other countries in the month of March.”
The aim is to make Cashel Rock’s the culminating event for the Gathering, beamed around the world to an international audience of millions the day before St Patrick’s Day. A special weather proof stage used previously by Pink Floyd, would be moved into place behind the Rock for some 2,000 to 3,000 visitors to watch the lighting projections in case of rain. The event would be ticketed, with some 2,850 per show, two shows per day for seven days.
Mr Canning said ‘Cashel Rocks’ would be self funding, and not require any funding from Cashel Town Council, though they are hoping a corporate sponsor may back the event. “The OPW like the idea. There will be minimum impact on the Rock, and it really showcases Irish heritage.” Councillors gave the plans unanimous backing. Mr Canning added that the current scaffolding on the Rock would not impede the show, as viewers will be watching the event from the other side of the Rock.