AN attempt to set a new world record for the largest number of people dressed as St Patrick in one place promises to be one of the highlights of this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Limerick city.
The parade - the second largest in the country - will have a theme of Saints and Scholars and is expected to attract thousands of participants and tens of thousands of spectators on Sunday March 17.
It is hoped that upwards of 250 people will dress up as Saint Patrick and march along the parade route on the day.
Actor and playwright Mike Finn has been appointed as artistic director for the parade and for the first time the Galway-based street theatre company, Macnas, will also feature.
Kieran Lehane, director of service at Limerick City Council, says he hopes the inclusion of Macnas will ensure this year’s parade will be one of the most colourful ever staged in the city
“We did a little bit of research last year and we asked people for their feedback and we have taken on board what people said so this year there will be more colour, more music, more razzamatazz and so on but retaining the essence of the strong community involvement,” he said.
The identity of the grand marshall for this year’s parade will not be revealed for a number of weeks and Mr Lehane says a “number of other secrets” are also being planned by the organisers.
A number of other events will take place in the city as part of the St Patrick’s celebrations.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that six High School bands are set to travel from the United States to Limerick for the International Band parade, which will take place on Monday March 18.
This represents a doubling of the number of US-based bands which participated in last year’s International Band Parade.
A number of other marching bands from Europe as well as several local bands will also participate in the event, which is expected to attract tens of thousands of spectators into the city.
Mr Lehane said he expects up to 20 bands to take part in the parade and he confirmed that a number of other US High School bands have already expressed an interest in travelling to Limerick over the next few years.
Cllr Michael Hourigan, chairman of the City Council’s Cultural and Sporting committee, praised the work which is being done to ensure the St Patrick’s festivities in Limerick continue to improve year after year.