Spectacular scenes snake through city

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan took a St Patrick’s Day breather in Limerick when he lined out with an estimated 70,000 to view the spectacular parade that snaked through the city centre for nearly three hours.

Mr Noonan said it was a great occasion.

He was joined on the review stand by Mayor Maria Byrne, Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan, TDs Kieran O’Donnell and Willie O’Dea along with members of the city and county councils.

Leading the 1,400 parade participants was joint Grand Marshal, Atlantic oarsman Sean McGowan.

He said: “This day last year I had rowed 74 days out into the Atlantic in my 24ft boat, Tess and celebrated with a gone-off Mars bar.”

Veteran St Patrick’s Day parader Winnie McNamara from Hyde Road, Prospect, was determined to be on the Friends of the Elderly Float.

Stricken with a stroke, Winnie, 82, made it onto the float with help from a few sturdy Young Munster members.

“All my lads played for Munsters. I love the parade,” Winne enthused as she was cheered on by one of her seven great grandchildren.

The immigrants’ organisation Doras also ensured the parade had a multinational diversity.

Raj Thapan from Nepal has been living in Limerick for 10 years.

He said: “We are having a great day.”

Another joint grand marshal was former soccer supremo, Eoin Hand.

He said: “I managed Limerick from 1979 to 1983 and was delighted and honoured to be asked to be one of the grand marshals to lead it down O’Connell St.”

At present he is appearing nightly at St John’s theatre in Listowel in Tony Guerin’s play, Cuckoo Blue.

Eoin said: “We have had packed houses. Great.”

Johnny Brennan whose rugby museum on Hyde Road became a focal point for sporting visitors to the city, is hopeful that his collection will be back on public view shortly.

He said: “Planning has been given for the new museum.”

Students from St Clement’s College flew the flag with style. Their tricolour, 40 feet long, was paraded with helping hands from students who travelled from the Santa Clara High School in California.

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