A CROWD of well over 1,000 people took to the streets of Tarbert to welcome the New Year in one of the greatest traditions the village upholds.
New Grand Marshall Denis Kiely - who accepted the baton from Finbar Carrig - led the parade that was flanked by flaming torches up from the Community Centre at 11.15pm to the sound of traditional music, accompanied by a
Denis's brother Peter and five sons, Thomas, Peter Jnr, Dan, Brendan and Christopher, along with Thomas Dillane on accordion, Joe Coolahan on the drum and up to ten youngsters on bodhráns provided the soundtrack to the parade that swept throught the village. As it did, revellers in the packed public houses spilled out to join the parade as it wound its way up through the centre of Tarbert, down to the Bridewell and back to Church Street before looping around for the Square. Under a canopy erected in the Square the musicians kept the atmopshere electric as MC Milo Kelly counted down the seconds to 2013 when a fireworks display exploding from the football field on the stroke of midnight.
"It's the biggest night of the year and it is getting bigger and bigger every year," Grand Marshall Denis Kiely said. "The crowd was unreal, I reckon we had up to 1,400 people on the streets and to see them coming out of the pubs and falling in behind the parade as we marched through town was something else!"
The best thing of all about the night was the return of Tarbert's sons and daughters home from all corners of the country to ring in 2013. Peter Kiely's sons Thomas and Peter came home especially from Maynooth to play in the band; Finbar Carrig's daughter Catherine came down all the way from Meath with her family and scores more made the journey to the estuary as well.
"It's an unbroken tradition that goes back 80 or 90 years in Tarbert and we're very proud of it," said Denis.