A ‘WiKid’ success for Waterford city!

The ‘WiKid’ Festival held in Waterford over a gloriously sunny weekend had arguably proven to be the most successful family event of the city’s 1100th anniversary held thus far.

The weekend got off to a most festive start with the visit of President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina to open both the Festival and the beautifully finished New Street Gardens, a living testament to community spirit and participation.

As is the case with The Friends of Saint John’s River, whom this newspaper is partnering in the ‘Get Involved’ project, along with the recently created Waterford Task Force, there’s clearly a fantastic work ethic among those living and working in our city.

We’ve a great deal to proud of, even if times remain hard for many families throughout Waterford, something we can never lose sight of.

But, as Michael Garland of the Waterford Business Group so aptly put it: “We need to combat the unfair impressions about this city and come out fighting with positive PR at the very highest national levels, to get the attention of the IDA, Foreign Direct Investors and the general wider public.

“We all have a role to play in this process, in driving a positive PR message that Waterford should be and deserves to be at the very top of the list when considering FDI or business opportunities within Ireland.”

Last weekend was a welcome step in that direction, with our city a veritable hive of activity, with many visitors complimenting how well the city is looking, particularly the rejuvenated Viking Triangle area.

There was no doubt that there’s not been such a sustained buzz around Waterford since Winterval, topping even the carnival mood one traditionally associates with Saint Patrick’s Day.

And with Spraoi Director TV Honan committed to delivering another spectacular festival come the August Bank Holiday weekend, there’s an onus on us all to beat a positive PR drum to domestic and foreign tourists alike about Ireland’s oldest city.

At Wyse Park, the Brothers of Charity organised an enjoyable family day, highlighting the participation of people with disabilities in community events and activities, and we salute them also for their welcome efforts in that regard.

The restoration of Wyse Park is also something we should all take great pride in.

To see the large gravestones from the Quaker graveyard repositioned against the old city wall makes a most compelling sight and a visit there comes highly recommended.

In the wake of the tough pill that workers at Bausch + Lomb have had to swallow, last weekend’s sunshine and successful Festival was a genuine tonic for the city.

You could almost sense the relief that the latest economic setback for Waterford had not proven as severe as initially intimated, but we await Valeant’s delivery on its commitment to invest in its city plant.

With ‘Art on the Railings’ around the Bishop’s Palace also proving a welcome addition to the city centre, and with the Farmer’s Market in Dunmore East recording good business on Sunday last, the weekend just ended proved as welcome for Waterford as the sun overhead.

We do not need to venture to Kilkenny or Dublin for a lively, inviting and entertaining city centre experience.

Some seeds are being sown in Waterford now, and we who live here, work here and love this city need to help those seeds to grow, thrive and flourish. Is féidir linn – why not?

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