Limerick people out in force for St Patrick's Day parade

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

MORE than 60,000 people lined O'Connell Street this Saturday, as St Patrick's Day went off with a bang in the city.

MORE than 60,000 people lined O'Connell Street this Saturday, as St Patrick's Day went off with a bang in the city.

With more than 4,000 taking part, the city's parade is Ireland's largest by participation. As the rain stayed away, the party atmosphere was well under way as soon as this year's Grand Marshal, the founding president of UL, Dr Ed Walsh began the parade. He was greeted with a green tickertape display.

The theme of the 2012 Limerick St Patrick’s Day Parade was ‘The World in Union’ which celebrated Limerick’s huge community base, its ethnicity and diversity and the fact that St Patrick’s Day is now truly a global phenomenon.

More than 100 community groups, brass bands, charities and businesses took part in the spectacle, with the best performance prize going to the CBS Pipe Band.

Meanwhile, the prize for the most entertaining group went to the Latvian Community in Limerick, who included traditional dancing and a national display - with an Irish twist on their float.

Limerick City Council awarded a special environmental award to Limerick Printmakers, who included papier mache creations to highlight the levels of litter people dispose of each year.

Other groups taking part included the Limerick Gospel Choir, Sammy Benson's Limerick City Brass and Reed Band, the St Mary's Prize Band, while the Webster Groves High School Band, from Missouri brought the parade to a rousing finale.

It was also a special day for students of Villiers School, as they were selected as this years flag bearers. They hoisted the largest tricolour in Ireland down O'Connell Street.

Mayor Jim Long said: "This is a great day for the peopple of Limerick. This is what Limerick is all about, and this is what Ireland is all about. A Happy St Patrick's Day to everyone. We have the biggest parade in the country. It is one of the highlights of my year, and I have fully enjoyed it."

All pictures taken by Adrian Butler. For more pictures, and reaction to the parade, see Tuesday's Limerick Chronicle.