Nervous Nicky marshals the courage to lead city parade
IT will be a day of "nerves and excitement" for Nicky Byrne this St Patrick's Day, as he steps out of his comfort zone to take on the position of Grand Marshal for the 2013 festival.
The singer follows in the footsteps of John Giles, Katie Taylor and Ronnie Drew to take on the role.
Byrne told the Irish Independent that as a proud Irishman, it will be a thrilling experience to be part of the celebrations and have his family watching as he drives up Dublin's O'Connell Street during the parade.
"This is something completely out of my comfort zone. I was lucky enough with Westlife to have some amazing gigs around the world, but to be sitting in a car in front of half-a-million people, when there's no rulebook on that – you can't really prepare. But I'm looking forward to it."
The St Patrick's Day parade this year is billed as the People's Parade, as part of The Gathering festival. Some 8,000 people from around the world have been invited to march.
Byrne said the event will be one of nostalgia.
"During the last 14 years with Westlife I was only home for one St Patrick's Day, so to get involved in the festival this year is a real honour – especially as a Dublin lad who would've got off the train at Connolly Station every year to come up to O'Connell Street with mum and dad," said the 33-year-old, speaking at the announcement yesterday.
"For me growing up, St Patrick's Day was a day when you got brand new clothes, put your shamrock on and had your flag in your hand. I've many memories of standing on my dad's shoulders watching on, so to be part of it is fantastic," he added.
"It's a big year for Ireland with The Gathering and the biggest festival to-date ... and it's one of those things you can look back on in years to come and tell your grandchildren that you did it."
The father-of-two, who recently appeared on the BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing' and has embarked on a TV presenting career since Westlife hung up their microphones, will also host the highlights programme. It will be televised on March 18.