A new memorial garden to remember all those who have lost their lives on the Shannon is earmarked for the picturesque area of Coosan Point.
The idea behind the community project, thought to be a first of its kind along the river corridor, is that it will become a place where families or relatives can come and visit to remember their loved ones, reflect, or simply say a prayer to their memory.
This week, RTE's Ciaran Mullooly officially launched a new fundraising draw to help meet the costs of the new memorial garden, to be located on a piece of ground on the Hare Island side of the pier, along with members of a local committee driving the development, Cllr Kevin 'Boxer' Moran and Declan Hynes, owner of the Lough Ree
The group is appealing to the local community to get involved and support the draw, particularly, anyone who has an association or close affinity with the lake and river. Raffle lines are just €2 and first prize is a mountain bike.
Speaking to the Westmeath Independent this week, Cllr Moran said that the memorial garden project came about following the tragic death of Joe Dooner earlier this year, a local man so associated with the water and boating.
A number of people mentioned at that time that there was nothing to remember people who lost their lives on the river, and afterwards a number of local people came together to form a committee where the idea of a memorial garden was first mooted.
A lot of thought has gone into the stone and marble design of the 14-foot square garden, he pointed out, which feature St Brendan the Navigator, fitting given its waterside setting, and a poem to recognise and remember the people who have died in the area over the years.
It is estimated it will cost several thousand euro to construct.
"We hope it will give respect and comfort to people," Cllr Moran stated, adding that they are hoping work will begin on the garden in the next few weeks and be complete by the end of the Summer.
A nephew of Joe Dooner, Robert Darcy, has kindly offered to do the stone masonry work free of charge for the project, while Enda McKiernan has agreed to do likewise in terms of the site work, Cllr Moran said, thanking them sincerely for their support.
He also paid tribute Westmeath County Manager Danny McLoughlin for giving the land for the project and to Ciaran Mullooly of RTÉ for launching their fundraising draw which run until early August.
The group plans to launch the memorial garden with a national open day at Coosan Point later this year, an event it hopes to use to also use to highlight the importance of wearing a lifejacket in conjunction with local angling and local water-based clubs.