THIS weekend, communities across north Kerry will be out in force to celebrate with a series of colourful St Patrick's Day parades. With some great prizes up for grabs for the most dramatic floats, costumes and novel parade entries, the sea of green is set to extend far and wide. The following is a synopsis of what the folk of north Kerry can look forward to this Sunday.
After a year's absence, Abbeydorney's St Patrick's Day parade is back bigger and better this year, with €500 worth of prizes up for grabs for the best entries, while all the children taking part will be presented with a medal to mark the event. The parade will leave the GAA Complex at 2pm and participants are asked to assemble from 1pm.
The newly formed Abbeyfeale Development Company have come up with an exciting programme of events to celebrate St Patrick's weekend, kicking off on Saturday night with a massive fancy dress party across the town's pubs. Sunday's festivities begin in The Square at 3.30pm with music and face-painting, with the parade itself setting off from Coláiste Ide Agus Iosef at 4pm.
For the second year in a row, the St Partick's Day parade will be returning to Ballyferriter and this year's theme will be the colours of the Dingle Peninsula. the parade will begin from Thithe Saoire na gClúainte at 11am and will make its way to the national school, before turning around and heading east. The public are being encouraged to dress up in their green and tricolours for the occasion.
Ballybunion's parade will see more on show than ever before, with this year's event featuring day-long attractions for families. King of the Pipers, Danny Houlihan, will be the Grand Marshall for the parade that starts on Doon Road at approximately 3pm.
Ballyduff parade will start at approximately 12 noon behind veteran Grand Marshall Battie Lyons.
In Ballyheigue the parade will commence at approximately 3pm, leaving from the village Grotto. Mikey O'Halloran will act as Grand Marshall for the day, and there will be prizes for Best Float, Best Novelty Act, Best Outfit, and many more.
Castleisland's parade starts from the Tralee Road industrial at at 1pm, taking the usual route up town, turning at the library and back down town again, with plenty of musical entertainment on offer around the streets throughout.
The Causeway parade will include an array of entertaining festivities in the village during the day. Grand Marshall Liam O'Connor will lead the parade from Causeway Comprehensive School at midday. Entertaining and creative floats are to be expected, with prized being presented to the best two floats on the day. A Duck Race in the village provides and added attraction.
The Dingle Fife and Drum band will get St Patrick's Day off to a very early start at 6am, with hundreds of supporters in tow as is the local tradition. Dingle's main parade begins at Ashmount at 12.45pm and follows the traditional route to the pier before returning to the old hospital via Green Street. In keeping with 'Bliain na Gaeilge' the theme is 'Tradisiun agus Cultúr Corca Dhuibhne'.
Kilflynn's St Patrick's Day parade is set to go global this year with the entire event streamed live on www.parkerspub.com. The parade will commence at 4pm from St Teresa's National School.
Listowel's parade will begin at 12.30 - gathering beforehand in the town square - and will have a strong focus on The Gathering. Gardai advise motorists not to travel through Listowel between noon and 2pm on St Patrick's Day as the town will be effectively closed for the duration of the parade, with diversions in place via Finuge, Greenville and the John B Keane Road.