The Dragon of Shandon, the centrepiece of one of Ireland’s largest night-time parades, will embark on a new and longer journey through the city as part of a major extension of the spooky Halloween festival.
The 36ft dragon will be accompanied by an entourage of almost 300 ghosts, ghouls and misfits and a collection of new monsters and beasts on an extended parade route from the historic Shandon quarter to include North Main St, Castle St, Corn Market St, and Kyle St.
It is set to be one of the largest Halloween parades in the Cork Community Art Link (CCAL) organised festival’s 10-year history.
“We have had many requests to bring the parade into the city,” said CCAL manager, Aoife Potter-Cogan. “And we thought there was no better time to do it than on the dragon’s 10th birthday.”
The parade will bring to a spectacular close the three-day Dragon of Shandon Festival which has seen a full, family-friendly programme of events take place in and around Shandon since Thursday night.
The festival, which celebrates the ancient tradition of Samhain, features circus, live music, hot food markets, ghost tours, a mini monster ball, storytelling, games, theatre, films and more, and is the result of a six-month community and outreach programme facilitated by CCAL which works with local groups, services, clubs and individuals to promote social inclusion and participation through creativity.
CCAL, which has been trying to find a permanent base for a decade, is finally due to move to a new headquarters in the former Lido cinema in Blackpool which is undergoing refurbishment. “This has been an extraordinary year for CCAL,” Ms Potter Cogan said. “We are finally getting a permanent home in the heart of the communities we work with so to have that coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Dragon of Shandon is just incredible.
“We can’t wait to ignite the imaginations of the people of Cork this Halloween and for many more to come.”
Tonight’s parade sets off at 7pm from the Shandon area. www.dragonofshandon.com