A GROUP of six Special Olympic athletes from Team Munster have been selected as grand marshals for the city St Patrick’s Day parade.
The 2014 Special Olympics Ireland games take place in Limerick this June and the athletes have been chosen to lead the massive parade, which is expects to feature more than 4,000 participants.
Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kathleen Leddin, said she expects a huge welcome for the athletes as they lead the parade, and said that she was “honoured and delighted” to have them as marshals.
“Sport is a huge part of our culture in Limerick and we’re honoured and delighted that our Special Olympic athletes who will represent us so proudly at the Ireland games will also lead our 2014 Parade,” she said.
“I know that the thousands of spectators who line the streets for our St Patrick’s Day parade in Limerick will give them a massive welcome.
She added: “Special Olympics Ireland will be counting on the support of everyone in Limerick to make the 2014 Games a success.”
Matt English, CEO with Special Olympics Ireland, said it was a “great honour for our athletes to be nominated” as grand marshals.
Up to 70,000 spectators are expected to line the city streets, making it the largest parade in Limerick’s history.
A number of other events will also take place in the city, including the Paddy’s Day Unlocked gig in the Milk Market after the parade, an alcohol-free event that will feature a number of high profile local performers.
Several local landmark buildings - including King John’s Castle and City Hall - will ‘go green’ to mark the holiday.
The parade will feature highly acclaimed street theatre group Macnas and Buí Bolg Productions, who were involved in the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the city to launch City of Culture.
This year’s flag ambassadors are the students of Coláiste Chiaráin in Croom.
Other events include a St Patrick’s themed day in the Hunt Museum on the day itself, a Genealogy Day on Saturday, Ceol Luimnigh in LIT on Friday, and weekend markets in the Milk Market through the weekend.
The parade will start at 12 noon on Monday. It will start at Punch’s Cross and the parade entrants will then march down O’Connell Street, finishing at the Island Road.
For more details see www.limerick.ie/stpatricksfestival.