Parading the very best that Ireland has to offer
on 15/03/2013 00:00:00
Almost every town and village will have a parade on the national feast day, with all available bands engaged to lead out a host of colourful floats, uniformed personnel, dancing schools, voluntary and sporting organisations, and marching groups, viewed by local dignitaries on platforms. The bank holiday weekend will kickstart the tourist season in some areas, with The Gathering — aimed at attracting the diaspora to visit this year — proving a popular theme. The occasion should also provide a much-needed tonic for the hard-pressed drinks trade, as people “wet the shamrock’’ in public houses countrywide, in accordance with time-honoured tradition. The biggest event in the South-West is the three-day Cork St Patrick’s Festival, estimated to attract more than 80,000 people to the city, with the theme: ‘The Gathering — Hands Across the Water’. The city centre will be buzzing with free family entertainment, live music, street performances, and the parade. The programme is organised by Cork City Council and supported by Cork Airport. Festivities begin in Cork tomorrow with live music from drumming group Torann, funk and soul from the Blue Jays, and blues from groove masters Souldriven. Galway-based street performers Macnas bring their show, ‘The Inventor and the Cockroach’, to the city for the first time. International mime artists, jugglers, sword swallowers, and magicians will also feature, as will Ballonatic, one of Britain’s most extravagant balloon artists, along with colourful stiltwalkers and acrobatics from Cork Circus. Cork Comhaltas, the Céilí All Stars, and the jump jive swing band The Roaring Forties, will provide musical entertainment throughout St Patrick’s Day on the main stage on St Patrick’s St. The festival continues on Monday with an eclectic mix of live music from The Dustbusters, Ray Barron and Friends, and Waterford band The Jam Tarts. The streets will be filled with street performers including mime artist Marcel So, Dublin magician Jack Wise, and acrobatic and dance artists Sorcaluba. Tasty treats and local Cork foods can be sampled each day from over 40 artisan and food stalls at the Barry’s Tea Market, located on the Grand Parade and the Boardwalk South Mall. The festival will close on Monday afternoon with a performance by singer songwriter John Spillane on the main stage on St Patrick’s St. CITY PARADE Cork City: 1pm on Sunday and expected to be one of the largest ever hosted by the city. Lord mayor of San Francisco Edwin Lee will be grand marshal. Giant puppets by the acclaimed Dowtcha Puppets, which have been specially commissioned for the parade, will weave their way through the streets. In keeping with a water theme, Cork Community Art Link’s steam punk-inspired water circuit machine, accompanied by elegant Corkonian Gondolas, and a large Venus float with lavish “live’’ mermaids, will also draw attention.lcorkstpatricksfestival.ie. CO CORK PARADES Ballincollig: 3.30pm: Colour and Noise is the theme, and takes place from SuperValu, via Castle Park, Main St, to finish at the Dunnes car park. Farmers and crafts market from 11.30am. Bantry: 4pm: Children’s fancy dress parade at town square. Bantry Fadó Festival comes to an end with old-time dancing at West Lodge Hotel. Bandon: 2pm: fresh world record Leprechauns attempt and crowning of King of the Leprechauns. Carrigaline: 1.30pm. Clonakilty: 3pm: Assemble Ashe St car park, begins Faxbridge, finish at old school, Western Rd. Theme: Cultural/musical/colour. Cobh: 3.30pm: The Gathering of the Green starts Low Rd, between Cobh Railway Station and Whitepoint, finish Old Town Hall on Lynch’s Quay. Castletownbere & Beara: 1.30pm: Assemble at The Square — led by piper Dermot Milner, features floats from town and peninsula organisations, schools, community groups, and followed by Irish dancing Courtmacsherry: 4.30pm: Unique in that it has both a land parade and a sea parade, led by RNLI Lifeboat, the Frederick Storey Cockburn. Dunmanway: 1.30pm: Assembly of vintage cars and tractors on the Long Bridge, floats assemble at St Patrick’s Church, route through Chapel St and Main St to the Sam Maguire Plaza. Fermoy: 10.30am: Assemble at Patrick St for parade. Glanmire: 3.30pm. Kealkil: 1.30pm. Disability rights campaigner Joanne O’Riordan will be grand marshal. Kinsale: 4pm: Parade and maritime festival. Theme: The Spirit of Kinsale. Macroom: 3.30pm: Route through town centre — mayor of Marcallo con Casone, (Macroom’s twin town) Signor Massimo Olivares is grand marshal followed by ceremony, at 5pm, to celebrate the link between Philadelphia, Macroom Castle, and William Penn. Mallow: 2.30pm: The Gathering is the theme, with a special reception at 1pm in the Town Hall for people returning from abroad. Mitchelstown: 1pm: Begin on George’s St, down Church St, Cork St, up Baldwin St, back up George’s St, and then it’s into the square from King’s St. Midleton: 3pm: The theme is ‘The Story of Ireland’ and starts on Main St. Schull: 2pm on Main St, grand marshal is Nellie Cotter of The Little Way Charity Shop. Skibbereen: 2.30pm: Parade starts from Cork Rd and finishes at Fairfield with late afternoon entertainment for all the family. Youghal: 3pm: Assemble Brehon Rd, start from roundabout. There will be category prizes for floats, banners, cultural, marching groups, clubs, juveniles, and business. KERRY There’s a strong focus on tourism promotion in this year’s Kerry parades, with The Gathering a popular theme, especially in Killarney, where the weekend’s festivities will have an international flavour. Some of the first US visitors of the season will turn out all in green in Killarney, bringing a splash of colour to the scene, and there will also be guests from Bavaria and Canada. A record number of entries is expected for the Tralee parade, which will have an emphasis on the use of the Irish language. Fr Pat Ahern, founder of Siamsa Tire, the National Folk Theatre, will be parade grand marshal. Also in Tralee, there will be two world record attempts to raise money for Arthritis Ireland and these events will provide a fitting conclusion to proceedings. The Glór na nGael-organised Listowel parade will also have a distinct Irish flavour, with three prizes for the best decorated windows in Comórtas na bhFuinneog. Local publican and writer Billy Keane will be master of ceremonies. In accordance with tradition, people in Dingle will have an early wake-up call from the local fife and drum band which will parade around the town at 6.30am before 7am Mass at St Mary’s Church, Green St. The official parade will take place later. Tralee: 12pm: Commences on John Joe Sheehy Rd, with participants being asked to assemble at 11.30pm. The parade will then make its way down Bóthar Buí and Castle St, and will go past the viewing stand on Denny St. There are more than 50 entries, and prizes will be awarded for best float, best community entry, best novelty act along with Duais na Gaeilge. Stage entertainment will feature traditional music, song, and dance. Killarney: 2pm from Ross Rd, and will pass a reviewing stand at Market Cross. The Bishop of Kerry, Dr Bill Murphy, will be grand marshal. The mayor and deputy mayor of Killarney’s twin town of Pleinfeld, Bavaria, Josef Miehling and Norbert Schuster, will attend. There will be more than 50 marching groups, floats, and bands, including the Celtic Angels Marching Group from Canada. Listowel: 12.30pm: Groups from around north Kerry, including schools, will take part in the event, organised by Glór na nGael since 1978. There will be special emphasis on the use of Irish in the entries. Dingle: 12.45pm: Parade begins from the old St Elizabeth’s Hospital and will follow the traditional route through the town, led by the local fife and drum band. Individuals, groups, clubs, schools, business outlets, and musical groups will take part. Castleisland: Festival has a 1pm start from Tralee Rd Industrial Estate. After parade, lots of music and craic for the afternoon. Caherciveen: 1.30pm: Parade leaves Fertha Drive entrance. Vintage cars and tractors welcome. Killorglin: 1pm from the Fishery. Parade will finish at Library Place where there will be plenty of music. Sneem: 2.30pm start. Clubs, community groups, and businesses all invited to take part. Prizes worth €1,000 will be given out. Waterville: 4pm start. Everyone invited to take part in afternoon of celebrations. Glenbeigh: 12.30pm from the local GAA grounds. Prizes for ‘greenest and most Irish looking’ adults and children watching the parade. Abbeydorney: 2pm Ballyheigue: 3pm Ballyduff: 12.15pm Ballybunion: 3pm Castlegregory: 12.30pm Castlemaine: 11am Kilflynn: 4pm Milltown: 10am Fifty shades of green Weather: Those hoping for a St Patrick’s Day parade bathed in sunshine are likely to be disappointed. A Met Éireann forecaster said that Sunday was “not going to be a fantastic day for anyone marching in a parade”. Temperatures are expected to range between four and six degrees with winds coming from the north. As a result, people should expect a cold day with showers, some of which may be of hail or snow. * St Patrick’s Day was first celebrated not in Ireland, but in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. * St Patrick’s Day did not become a national holiday here until 1903 and the first parade wasn’t held in Dublin until 1931. * Apart from being a national holiday here, St Patrick’s Day is also a national holiday on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean, which was founded by Irish slaves. * Traditionally, the biggest parade is held in New York, while the largest celebration in the southern hemisphere is in Sydney. * In Chicago, the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day while in Seattle, there is a ceremony where a green stripe is painted on the roads. The colour originally associated with St Patrick was blue; green became associated with the saint during the 19th century. * Hot Springs in Arkansas, US, is reported to have the shortest St Patrick’s Day Parade in the world. The entire parade takes place on Bridge St, which measures just 98ft.