Big chill not expected to dampen St Patrick's Day festivities

It is hoped predicted Beast from the East-style low temperatures won’t have a detrimental impact on the St Patrick’s Day parades which get under way around the country tomorrow.

Celebrating the theme of Democracy For All — 100 Years of the Vote for Women, the Cork City parade will be a carnival of colour, music, pageantry, and comic fun. It starts at 1pm and will involve 50 community groups.

Around 3,000 people will participate in the parade with up to 50,00 spectators expected to turn out.

To mark the centenary of the vote, this year’s Grand Marshal will consist of a group of elected female representatives from Cork including MEP Deirdre Clune and former Lord Mayor Catherine Clancy.

The St Patrick’s Day market will also take place in Emmet Place in Cork from noon to 5pm. A novel ball run on St Patrick’s Hill is scheduled for 2pm on Sunday in aid of the Cork Lions Defibrillator Project.

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill is set to be an international guest of honour at the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. He will watch the parade from the Presidential stand. The Dublin parade will commence at noon. The 2018 parade Grand Marshal is Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham.

Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill

The Dublin native, who hails from East Wall, was chosen in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Irish acting both at home and around the globe.

This year marks the 116th anniversary of the Galway St Patrick’s Day Parade and you can expect a wonderful spectacle of all things Irish with this year’s guest of honour being Galway native and extreme adventurer Gavan Hennigan. The iconic fountain in Eyre Square will even turn green as part of the celebrations. The parade will start at 11.30am and finish at about 1pm. It will feature an array of community, cultural, sporting and international groups including Ireland’s pioneering spectacle theatre company Macnas, led by the Macnas Young Ensemble.

This year’s parade highlights include Galway Arts Centre, Colours Street Theatre, An Taibhdhearc Theatre and Galway Theatre Festival with community groups such as Foróige, GAA clubs, Amnesty International, and the Russian Culture Club.

The Limerick parade will start at noon. Street theatre companies LUXE and Lumen will be accompanied by the School of Spectacle in a colourful prosession which will start on O’Connell Avenue (Roden St junction) before winding its way through the heart of Limerick city centre.

The parade, which is being co-ordinated by Grooveyard Productions on behalf of Limerick City and County Council, will feature thousands of participants from various community groups, companies, bands and sports clubs from across Limerick and further afield.

The Waterford parade festivities kick off with a performance from Higgins Academy of Irish Dance at the viewing stand on The Mall at 12.30pm. The parade will then officially begin at 1pm with more than 60 colourful entries taking part.

The lead band this year will be Waterford’s own Barrack Street Concert Band. The Grand Marshal this year will be Else Berit Eikeland, ambassador of Norway to Ireland. After the parade there will be the festive fun and music in John Roberts Square featuring Hack the Bone and traditional Irish music from Cuisle.

Big chill not expected to dampen St Patrick's Day festivities

Kerry floats

- By Anne Lucey   

Kerry’s Baile na nGall on the edge of the Atlantic will see its locals stride out at midnight led by a band to steal a march on the traditional early risers in Dingle.

Dingle’s Fife and Drum community will be setting their alarm clocks for its usual dawn parade. They will be on hand later too to lead the Dingle parade at 12.30pm with a theme of past, present and future.

The theme of Killarney’s parade shows the town is still in love with itself — “Killarney you’re looking good!”. It kicks off at 2pm and is one of the biggest and most colourful parades in the southwest and marks the start of its tourist season. It will also celebrate 60 years of Tidy Towns competition, which regularly delivers the town a gold medal.

“There’s no place like Killarney,” the organisers said as they prepared to paint the town green for its American and European visitors.

Listowel has big plans this year, starting with 11am Mass as Gaeilge from St Mary’s Church, which will be broadcast on RTÉ 1. This will be followed by dancing and craic in the square ahead of its 1pm parade.

Tralee will be up earlier than usual, with its parade starting at 11. 45am — doubtless in line with the theme “Tralee: Ireland’s most enterprising town”. There is a new route too this year, from the Rose Hotel along Dan Spring Road, on to Dean’s Lane, Boherbee to Castle St, down The Mall and finishing at the entrance to The Square. Entertainment in The Square will take place after the parade.

Castleisland in the heart of Sliabh Lluachra will start its parade at the Mart Grounds at 12.30pm and will be led by the Cullen Pipe Band.

The seaside town of Caherisveen, in South Kerry will start its parade at 3.30pm with floats, bands, dancing and plenty of local, live music.

Killorglin’s parade begins at the Fishery at 1pm and there will be entertainment for all ages at the opposite end of the town at Library Place, with bouncy castles, face painting and live music from Flight of the Earls.

A street market will take place in Sneem where St Patrick’s Day is traditionally a fair day; in Castlegregory the fun starts at 3pm and there will be a bake sale and refreshments after- wards; Abbeydorney near Tralee starts at 2pm and Kenmare will have a weekend of celebrations for the patron saint.

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