Dolores Minogue has welcomed the news that Ardee will host the penultimate stage finish of this year’s An Post Ras in May – and she’s hopeful the town will benefit from thousands of visitors over the course of the May weekend.
On Tuesday, the best kept secret in Ardee was finally made official with the news that Ardee was to host a stage finish on the 2017 An Post Ras. The town will play host to the penultimate stage finish on Saturday May 27th before riders will depart from Castle Street on the Sunday morning for the final leg of their race to Skerries.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie today, the Ardee Municipal District cathaoirleach Minogue expressed her delight at the announcement.
“It’s brilliant,” Minogue said. “It was great to sit on the committee with Eamon Martin, Ardee Cycling Club and the former Ardee Gardai superintendent Andrew Watters when we met in August and started the ball rolling on it. It’s great to be successful in bringing the An Post Ras into Ardee.
“It’s brilliant not just for Ardee but for a big part of Mid-Louth,” she continued. On Day Six, the cyclists will travel from Donegal and will take in Cootehill, Shercock, Carrickmacross before stopping in Ardee. Then on the race’s final day, it will go through Drumconrath and Nobber en route to Navan and finally Skerries.
“It’s great that the second last stage is coming into Ardee. Now we’ll get to celebrate the riders coming into Ardee and celebrating them going off the next day. That’s unique in itself for us
“It’s great to hear Ardee being mentioned there on the RTE News,” the Fine Gael councillor continued. “All of the various committees have come together and it just goes to show that even if we are a wee small town, if you keep working at it and keep plugging away, these things can come true.
“It’s good for Ardee Cycling Club that it’s happening. They’ve done all of the hard work and I’m delighted for them. Today’s announcement has given Ardee another boost. It’s a great event to have and we can tick that box and hopefully the town will come out and support it.”
In 2015, the An Post Ras came to Drogheda when the penultimate stage ended in West Street before competitors set off for the final leg. That attracted crowds of around 20,000 and it is hoped thousands of people will line Ardee’s streets on both days to support the event – in what would be a big, if temporary, boost to the local economy.
“That’s a fantastic footfall to get into any town,” Minogue said. “It will spread out into other parts of Mid-Louth to B&Bs and hotels too. It’s not just Ardee that will benefit from revenue.
This year’s Rás covers 1,200 kilometres over eight stages with 21 categorised climbs, including two category one climbs – Mamore Gap and Glengesh Pass. The 2017 Rás is the 65th edition of the race and the action gets underway on Sunday May 21 from Dublin Castle with stage finishes also scheduled for Longford, Newport, Bundoran, Buncrana, Dungloe, Donegal.