March 15 - Make the most of a special time to be Irish

SPECULATION over the identity of the grand marshal for Limerick city’s St Patrick’s Day parade ended with a pleasing outcome this week, following the announcement that six Special Olympics athletes will have that special honour.

SPECULATION over the identity of the grand marshal for Limerick city’s St Patrick’s Day parade ended with a pleasing outcome this week, following the announcement that six Special Olympics athletes will have that special honour.

This decision was entirely fitting and will be in keeping with what promises to be a memorable parade, as the city’s year as National City of Culture steps up a gear. St Patrick’s weekend, embracing the hugely popular International Band Parade, has long been important to Limerick. The archive photographs republished in the Leader in recent times have included many from our national holiday and even though Limerick has changed out of all recognition over recent decades, it is a safe bet that Monday’s parade will have all the joy and happiness conveyed in those old images.

The Special Olympians will receive a tremendous ovation and their presence will act as a timely reminder that a sporting event of huge significance will be in our midst before we know it.

In the county, there will be parades in plenty of towns and villages – see page 4 for a rundown of what’s happening where. We look forward to bringing your reports and pictures from each of them next week.

One could make the case that very essence of what it means to be Irish can uniquely be found on March 17.

Those who buy into that will have a real sense of where they came from, or perhaps they are on a journey of discovery. Among the exciting events taking place this weekend, such as Fuerzabruta at the new Culture Factory, consider the appeal of what will take place on Saturday at the Christ Church United Presbyterian & Methodist Church on 51A O’Connell Street. They’re calling it Genealogy Day and it will explore family histories and Irish heritage.

One of the most attractive qualities a person could have is that he or she knows where they came from and never forgot it, especially on St Patrick’s Day.