FAMILIES all over the county are preparing to open their homes to up-and-coming hurling, camogie and handball stars as thousands of teenagers descend on Limerick this Friday for Féile na nGael.
And to celebrate Limerick hosting the 2013 event, the city will hold a major parade this Friday to kick-start the festival.
“It’s absolutely brilliant. It will bring 5,000 people into Limerick city and county,”said Mike O’Riordan, secretary of Limerick County Board.
“It is the biggest GAA festival of the year. We are all looking forward to a very successful parade, feile and final in the Gaelic Grounds,” he added.
Newly appointed mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kathleen Leddin, said Limerick is a proud sporting city with a long standing love affair with the GAA.
“Limerick is one of Ireland’s strongest sporting cities and we have proved that with our outstanding performance in the Munster Senior Hurling championship to date,” she said.
“I am most looking forward to welcoming the visiting teams to our city for what is shaping up to be an exciting, fun-filled weekend. Limerick is preparing for the arrival of thousands of hurling, camogie and handball players as it hosts the sports festival, Féile na nGael.”
Féile na nGael which is a national festival for boys and girls under 14 years of age will run over Friday and Saturday with the finals taking place in the Gaelic Grounds and Mungret on Sunday.
The Artane Band will lead the parade on Friday evening which will include 5,000 marchers from all 32 counties and five marching bands. The parade begins at the Gaelic Grounds at 7.30pm on Friday evening and will proceed along the Ennis Road, up to O’Connell Street where there will be a review stand.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend the parade and support their local teams.
Once the parade reaches the junction of Mallow Street and O’Connell Street, the marchers will then disperse to Pery Square, Hartstonge Street, Upper Mallow Street, Barrington Street and Catherine Place.
The visiting hurling and camogie clubs have been paired with host clubs here in Limerick and will be staying with host families.
All other visitors, including handball players, will be staying in hotels/guesthouses around the city and county.
There will be road closures from the Gaelic Grounds along the Ennis Road, Sarsfield Bridge, Sarsfield Street and O’Connell Street as far as the Mallow Street junction for the parade on Friday.
For more on the parade and for a full list of fixtures visit feilelimerick2013.com. See also our 20-page pullout in LeaderSport.