Preparing for St Patrick's Day are Suzanne Freeman, Katie Collins, Lucy Grace Griffin Grant, Luca Rosendahl Morrissey, Yasser Mansoer and Edward Fossett, (Otto the clown) | PICTURE: Sean Curtin
LIMERICK is set to get a huge economic boost this weekend as tens of thousands of people hit the city for the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Thousands of people will line O'Connell Street from noon this Saturday, for the main event, the St Patrick's Day parade.
At the same time on Sunday, thousands more will congregate for the International Band Championship.
The flagship St Patrick's Day parade will see more than 4,000 people walk Limerick’s main thoroughfare.
And despite cold weather the council has promised the displays will warm the cockles of one’s heart.
The theme of this year’s main St Patrick’s parade – which kicks off at noon on Saturday – is Circus, celebrating 250 years of the art form which has enthralled and amazed boys and girls of all ages down through the years.
The grand marshal is the queen of Ireland’s oldest national circus, Marion Fossett, ringmaster of Fossett’s Circus, which is celebrating the 130th anniversary of its founding this year.
Twenty-four hours later, the traditional undercard to the festive celebrations, the International Band Championship will take place.
Some 21 marching bands from Ireland, Britain, Germany and the United States will compete in the 48th staging of the contest.
Later that evening all eyes will be on King John’s Castle for St Patrick’s Festival Extravaganza as dramatic illuminations are projected onto the historic castle, followed by a spectacular fireworks display which will transform the city’s skies into an explosion of colour!
It’s anticipated this display will get underway from 9pm.
In addition to the three main events, there are over 30 other events taking place as part of the Limerick St Patrick’s Festival.
Laura Ryan, head of marketing and communications with the council promised a “carnival atmosphere” across the city this weekend.
Other highlights of the main parade include LUXe who are presenting their award winning Cirque de Lune, Macnas will appear on foot with the Macnas brass ensemble, Cloughjordan Youth Circus will bring stilt walkers, jugglers and clowns, andLumen will entertain the crowds in their unique way.
A panoramic wheel and traditional carousel has been erected in Arthur’s Quay Park, reaching a height of 39 metres and has for the past week been lighting up the city skyline.
Fossett’s Circus has set up shop at Cleeve’s Car Park, and will be present there until Monday, March 19.
Elsewhere, a unique collection of circus memorabilia is now in place at the Limerick museum at Henry Street, provided by the McCarthy family from Cappamore.
The Limerick Milk Market will also play host to an unlocked event this weekend. Grooveyard is producing this year’s parade on behalf of the Council.
Bus Éireann services will be curtailed this weekend and gardai are warning of rolling road closures to facilitate the various events.
Motorists travelling in the city are advised to allow additional time when planning their journeys.
SAINT PATRICK'S DAY PARADES ACROSS LIMERICK
St Patrick’s Day parade: starting at 12pm on O’Connell Avenue (Roden Street junction) before winding its way through the heart of the city centre. The theme is the 250th anniversary of the circus.
St. Patrick's Festival Extravaganza: starting at 9pm on Sunday 18th, with dramatic illuminations to be projected onto King John’s Castle, followed by a spectacular fireworks display. Viewing points: Clancy's Strand, Sarsfield Bridge.
Limerick International Band Championship: on also Sunday 18th, starting on O'Connell Street (Hartstonge Street junction) at 12pm, ending with a free concert for the public in Arthur’s Quay Park.
Parade start: 4.30pm at Mountmahon Industrial Estate, proceeding down Main Street and past the reviewing stand in The Square.
Parade start: 2pm at the church car park. A fun filled family day out with lots of bands, walkers and different organisations taking part.
Parade start: 2pm at Tonedale Bedding Grounds. Led by Anglesboro pipe band. There will be music and sideshows on the day from 2pm, including a facepainter.BRUFF
Parade start: 2pm at Scoil Dean Cussen, followed by duck race at 2.40pm. The theme of this year’s parade is ‘Bruff Connects’. Messages from global diaspora will be displayed on chat boards, intermingled with floats and participating clubs and individual acts.
Parade start: 12pm at the Castle Oaks Hotel.
Parade start: 11.30am at the Herbertstown Development Association.
Parade and music: 1.30pm at McCarthy’s Yard. Traditional music before the parade, before parade starts at 2pm. Joyce Festival on 14-18 March.
Parade start: 1pm at Kilmallock church. Parade Grand Marshall is Con Connery, a great ambassador for Kilmallock through his 65 years as a musician.
Parade start: 3pm at the Community Centre car park.
Parade start: 12.30pm at the New Line.