Broadcaster and rugby pundit George Hook has agreed to line out as grand marshall for the St Patrick’s Dayparade in his native city.
The bombastic Cork-born Newstalk presenter, who left Leeside in the late 1950s, said he was “unbelievably and enormously chuffed” to be asked to take on the role.
“It is a fantastic honour to lead the Cork parade with thousands of people,” he said.
“It’s a particular honour for a fella from the wrong side of the tracks.
“I think I might be the first guy from Albert Rd — I mean, I was born in a house with no running water — to be the parade’s grand marshall.”
Lord Mayor Mary Shields said she was delighted that Mr Hook accepted the invitation.
She also announced free parking initiatives to encourage people to attend the city’s four-day St Patrick’s Festival, which begins on Saturday.
It will feature food markets, street performances from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, a food trail, traditional live music as part of The Lee Sessions and, a new addition, the St Paddy’s Day Fleadh at the Cork Opera House on Tuesday night, featuring John Spillane, Jimmy Crowley and Pulses of Tradition.
Joan Lucey of Vibes and Scribes and Claire Nash of Nash 19, with Louis Wild from Dowtcha Puppets’ Army of Fun, announce that shops, restaurants and businesses in Cork have
pledged to go green for the four-day St Patrick’s Festival, which is expected to attract 50,000 people. For more see www.corkstpatricksfestival.ie Picture: Darragh Kane
Cork Lions Club will also send about 10,000 multi- coloured balls tumbling down St Patrick’s Hill at 2pm on Sunday in a fundraiser for local causes.
Up to 50,000 people are expected to attend events over the weekend, with up to 3,000 participants taking part in the Cultural Concepts parade, which starts on South Mall at 1pm on Tuesday, before following the traditional route along Grand Parade, St Patrick’s St, and finishing on Merchants Quay.
It will feature commissions from Dowtcha Puppets and Cork Community Art Link, as well as street theatre companies Spraoi, Buí Bolg and LUXe, and will be streamed live online on corkcity.ie/tv.
Meanwhile, several city businesses are going green for the festival, with Brown Thomas lighting up its landmark building in green for a week.
Craft shop Vibes and Scribes is sponsoring a ‘best shop window’ competition in association with the Cork Business Association (CBA).
Cork City Council, in association with CBA, encouraged people to enjoy the best the city has to offer during the festival.
The Cork St Patrick’s Festival is organised by Cork City Council and supported by Cork Airport, Cork’s 96FM, C103FM and the Evening Echo.
Details on all the festival events are available on corkstpatricksfestival.ie.
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