Limerick to stage Ireland’s biggest St patrick’s Day Parade

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

IRELAND’S largest tricolour will take pride of place in this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in Limerick - which at over 4,000 participants already registered is set to be the largest in the country.

IRELAND’S largest tricolour will take pride of place in this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in Limerick - which at over 4,000 participants already registered is set to be the largest in the country.

IRELAND’S largest tricolour will take pride of place in this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in Limerick - which at over 4,000 participants already registered is set to be the largest in the country.

The 40-foot flag has been unfurled by students of St Clement’s College, who are this year’s flag ambassadors. They were joined on Monday by students from Santa Clara High School in California, whose week-long visit to Limerick culminates in their participation in the International Band Parade this Sunday.

“They are in Limerick all week to see how Irish life compares to their own lives in Santa Clara, which I’m sure is very different. Also at St Clement’s there are four German students who are at a Redemptorist college in Germany. They are on an exchange and they are obviously very excited to be at the centre of the celebrations for St Patrick’s Day,” said Laura Ryan, Limerick Communications Office.

The number of participants at this year’s Limerick parade dwarfs those taking place in Cork and Galway and has more than twice as many as in Dublin. In the capital, around 1800 people are expected to parade in what it is a professional production. In Limerick, however, the focus is very much on the community as schools, scouts, expatriate, community and voluntary organisations all get the chance to join the street entertainers on the march down O’Connell Street.

And Limerick will have not one but five grand marshals as the city celebrates its year as European City of Sports.

Ireland and Munster rugby hero John Hayes will be joined by transatlantic rower Sean McGowan, the Limerick hurlers former top marksman Gary Kirby, Ireland’s most-capped hockey international Eimear Cregan and former Ireland and Limerick soccer manager Eoin Hand.

This year’s festivities will continue right through the weekend with the addition of the “Feet on the Street” concert taking place on O’Connell Street from noon to 5pm on Saturday. This will feature country music star Mick Flavin, traditional band Na Fianna and rockers RoySeven.

“We are really overwhelmed with the interest in this year’s St Patrick’s Festival,” said organiser, Fran O’Donnell, Futureama Productions. “We have a wonderful parade with a fantastic variety of entries, the Feet on the Street and the International Band Competition so there really is something for everyone.”

Motorists have been warned meanwhile that any cars parked on O’Connell Street overnight on March 16 will be towed and it will cost €70 to retrieve cars from the compound at the back of Henry Street Garda Station.