Sporting theme for Patrick’s Day

LIMERICK’S St Patrick’s Festival will have a sporting theme this year, in keeping with the city’s status as European City of Sport 2011.

LIMERICK’S St Patrick’s Festival will have a sporting theme this year, in keeping with the city’s status as European City of Sport 2011.

Mayor Maria Byrne launched the “Limerick, EU City of Sport” theme for this year’s St Patrick’s Festival with the help of Gaelscoil Sairseal students Hannah, Stephen and Eileen Cleary this Monday, and said she expects the numbers involved in this year’s parade to rival last year.

Last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was the largest parade in the country due to the number of participants, almost 3,500, and was watched by 70,000 people, according to Garda estimates.

In keeping with the City of Sport status, participants are being encouraged to interpret the theme in a number of ways and design a float or entry to show their sporting pride and passion in their sports club, city, business, school or their favourite team.

“Limerick city is synonymous with sport and as Ireland’s true sports capital, it is only right that we celebrate this wonderful sporting pride and passion on our national holiday,” said Mayor Maria Byrne of the parade.

“This is a chance to celebrate our love of sport, our achievements and also a great fun family day out with lots of music, entertainment and colour,” she added.

All sporting, cultural, community, business and social organisations are invited to take part in the event and Laura Ryan, of Limerick’s Co-ordination Office, said that entries for this year’s parade were “flying in”.

“This year’s parade looks set to be as big as last year,” said Laura.

“We have had three years of good weather on the day so hopefully that trend will continue. We are encouraging people to get involved, to be inventive and have fun,” she added.

It is thought likely that there will be several Grand Marshals for the parade, reflecting various sporting codes, and with 700 sports clubs in Limerick, all are being encouraged to get behind this year’s theme.

“We are saying, come on, this doesn’t happen every year, get your thinking caps on and support the event,” added Laura.

The festival will also include the International Band Parade and Competition, celebrating its 41st anniversary, which will take place on March 20 and will see over 800 musicians take part.

The deadline for entry to the St Patrick’s Day Parade is Wednesday, March 9 and Limerick City Council will present €750 for the greenest float or entry. Full details are available on www.limerick.ie.