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Sunday 22 July 2018

Wicklow ready to go green

Countdown to the St Patrick's Day parades

Participants in last year’s Newtownmountkennedy parade
Participants in last year’s Newtownmountkennedy parade
The Blessington Rescue Boat at last year's parade

Baltinglass - Baltinglass will be a sea of green on Saturday, March 17, as the annual St Patrick's Day parade gets under way at 12.30 p.m.

The parade route will be the same as in previous years, starting from Lathaleere Industrial Estate and finishing at Centra on Edward Street.

Prizes will be awarded for the best in the following categories: Business/Commercial Float; Walking/Sports Club; Community/Society Float; Creche/Pre-school Float and there will also be a prize for the best window display.

A combination of floats, decorated vehicles and marching groups will take part.

Businesses and community groups are encouraged to take part and make this a colourful and fun event.

Rathdrum

John Joe Mitchell was the popular choice having been selected as the Grand Marshall for this year's St Patrick's Day Parade in Rathdrum.

John Joe is considered one of the great community workers in the town. He plays leading roles in both the Rathdrum Development Association (RDA) and the Bingo Committee. He is also a long-standing member of Rathdrum St Vincent de Paul.

'He is very much community-minded and there isn't anything he wouldn't do for someone. He is hugely respected in the area,' said Jimmy O'Shaughnessy of the St Patrick's Day Committee.

Final preparations are being put in place for the parade which has taken place for over 30 years now. There were some concerns raised after the low turnout of volunteers at one of the first committee meetings of the year but others have stepped forward and offered their services.

'The last few meetings we have had have been very well attended. We have had a great response after the early setback. We usually get around a thousand people or more attending the parade. A lot of effort has gone into this year's St Patrick's Day. The Parnell Pipe Band, Rathdrum Tidy Towns, Avondale GAA Club and the Camogie Club will all be involved,' confirmed Jimmy.

The parade leaves Avon Motors at midday and heads into Rathdrum from the crossroads before finishing at the review stand.

There may also be something of a 'surprise' in store for the crowd gathered to watch the parade but things remain under wraps for the moment.

Newtownmountkennedy

None other than St Patrick himself will lead festivities in Newtownmountkennedy this March 17.

The man of the moment will head the parade, as per tradition, with participants gathering at 10.30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. start from Gregory's Garage.

'Local sporting and community clubs and organisations will all be involved again. It's very much a community parade rather than a commercial parade. We always get a good response and each year there is a great atmosphere around the village. We may also have a surprise in store but we can't confirm anything yet,' said Ann Duffy of the Newtownmountkennedy St Patrick's Day Committee.

After departing from Gregory's Garage, the parade will head through Killadreenan, make its way into the village, down the Main Street and back to the reviewing stand at Druid's Well.

Various prizes will be awarded for floats and marchers including a prize for Best Shop Window.

Organisers are also hopeful that people will come from surrounding areas as well to enjoy the festivities. For further information contact Ann Duffy at 01 2819716.

Arklow

The final preparations are coming along nicely for the Arklow St Patrick's Day parade which kicks off at the earlier time of 2p.m.

The organising committee has been hard at work making sure that this year's parade will be one to remember.

This year's grand marshal is Majella Myler of Arklow Sea Scouts and she will lead a diverse range of floats, decorated vehicles and marching groups through the heart of Arklow Town.

For 2018, there is a suggested theme for participants of 'Bring Your Favourite Book to Life', aimed primarily at Commercial Floats, but groups can also adopt this theme if they wish.

Organisers are encouraging everyone to get involved in this year's parade and showcase what is great about Arklow while enjoying free publicity for their business, community group or organisation.

The shops and businesses can also get involved in the festivities by entering the Best Window Display competition.

Please note all marching groups to assemble on Mellows Avenue for 1.30 p.m. and Commercial/Non Commercial Floats/Displays should be on Yellow Lane for 1.15 p.m.

Early arrival by all participants is encouraged to get off promptly for 2 p.m.

The route for this year's parade is via Mellows Avenue, Navvy Hill, Abbey Street, Hudson Square and on to the Main Street.

The reviewing stand will be situated, as always, at the Parade Ground and dispersal after parade passes the platform at the Courthouse, Parade Ground.

Groups should go up St Mary's Road and commercial vehicles/floats should drive right up to the top of Main Street.

All participants are asked to obey all stewards and Gardaí and allow for some traffic delays and are reminded not to throw sweets of novelties from moving vehicles, in the interest of safety.

Prizes will be up for grabs in the following categories: Best Float - Chamber of Commerce Cup; Best Commercial Display - Bank of Ireland Shield; Best Non-Commercial Display - Arklow Traders Association Cup; Best Marching Group - AIB Shield; Best Traditional Group - The Denis Naughter Perpetual Cup; Most Entertaining Group - The Paddy Lynch Memorial Award; Best Agricultural/Horticultural Display - Ernest Sharp Memorial Cup; Most Topical - Arklow Retail & Business Association Shield; Best Shop Window Display - The Hickson Shield; Best Vintage Display - The John Swan Cup; Youth Award - Kitty Fisher Memorial Trophy; Best Uniformed Group - Elavon Perpetual Cup.

If you wish to enter this year's parade please contact chairperson Tina O'Sullivan at 087 9093848, Tommy Annesley, Jim Hoey in The Bridge Hotel or Donal Molloy in Le Chef. There is no entry fee, but a donation would be most welcome to defray some of the costs including insurances and prizes.

Winners will be presented with their prizes on Friday, March 23, at 8 p.m. in the Bridge Hotel, Arklow.

Entries will be taken also on the day, so if you are attending other parades nearby you are most welcome to travel to Arklow, where you will get a warm welcome.

Aughrim

St Patrick's Day will be celebrated in Aughrim with a morning parade, kicking off at 11.15 a.m. at Tinakilly Bridge.

All the usual floats and marching groups will be taking part and it is hoped that a large number of community groups and clubs will take part.

Floats, Walking Groups, Vintage Cars and Tractors are invited to join in and make the parade a festive event.

Refreshments, demonstrations by some of the walking groups and free activities for children will take place afterwards in the Pavilion.

A cost of €5 per entry applies, to cover the cost of insurance.

For more information and application forms for the parade contact Neil Gallagher 0402 36655 or Arie van der Wel 087 9202751.

Entrants can register on the day and the prizegiving ceremony will take place later that night at 9 p.m. in Joe O'Toole's.

A table quiz will also take place in O'Toole's on Friday, April 6 and funds raised will be donated to the festival running costs.

The quiz is organised by the Aughrim Business Association and starts at 8.30 p.m. Entry for a table of four costs €20.

Carnew

It is the 10th anniversary for Carnew's annual St Patrick's Day parade this year, which will set off at 1 p.m.

The organisers are expecting around 50 entries featuring a wide range of participants. They will be led by grand marshal John Wilkinson, who is a local historian and photographer, and is heavily involved within the community.

Vintage enthusiasts are expected at the parade, as well as Carnew Musical Society, GAA and ladies' GAA clubs, Scoil Aodan Naofa, Gap Arts Festival, Carnew Heritage Group, Gorey Pipe Band, Aughrim Pipe Band, Carnew Training and Development Centre float and Samba Drumming Group.

Entrants will gather on the Carnew Road from 12.15 p.m. onwards. The parade will finish at Colaiste Bhride where refreshments will be served and the presentation of prizes will take place.

Categories include best overall float, most topical float, best walking group, most entertaining and best window display.

Parade MCs Kevin McEvoy and Michael Kinsella will provide a running commentary on the day.

Contact Carnew Training and Development Centre on 053 9426555 to volunteer to help on the day.

Blessington

After the success of last year's debut St Patrick's Day Parade, Blessington will play host to only its second ever parade.

The day promises to be a fun, very entertaining and a great day out for all the family. Last year's event raised funds for Muscular Dystrophy Ireland and Kare, while this year's charity of choice will be Blessington Rescue Boat. The rescue boat and its volunteer crew have been patrolling the lakes for over eleven years now. However, a new rescue boat is required to patrol the Blessington Lakes.

Their current craft was already 20 years old when they acquired it and they have spent a considerable sum, as well as investing plenty of time, in modifying it to suit their needs.

The festivities get under way at 11 a.m. with live music, fun activities and street entertainment taking place outside Blessington Credit Union.

The music festival will then take a break to make way for the parade, which will depart from the Training and Education Centre Blessington at 12 noon, head through the town and then finish up back at the square. Killian McGreal will be leading the way.

The street festival will restart once the parade finishes, with music, dancing and entertainment continuing for the rest of the afternoon. Wonca's Sweet Shop will also provide competition hampers for the best dressed craziest boy and girl.

Wicklow

Wicklow RNLI will proudly lead this year's St Patrick's Day Parade after being selected as grand marshals for Wicklow town.

Due to popular demand the parade time has also been moved forward to 1 p.m. rather than the usual 3.15 p.m. start.

St Patrick's Day committee PRO Eugene Dooley said: 'We already have lots of sporting clubs, schools and other organisations registered with us to take part in the parade. Everyone taking part should be down at Whitegates for 12.15 p.m. for a start at 1 p.m. This week we will be selecting the best window displays and there will also be different awards for all the floats involved. St Patrick's Pipe Band and the Eichenzell Brass Band will be taking part. There will also be live music in Market Square from midday.'

Over the past five years Wicklow lifeboats have been responsible for rescuing almost 200 people. For over 160 years the remarkable men and women who make up the crew have risked their lives for those in peril on the sea and the honour of Grand Marshal is dedicated to them.

Coolgreany

More than 30 entries are expected for Coolgreany's 10th St Patrick's Day parade which will kick off at 11.30 a.m.

The entries will begin gathering at 11 a.m. at Lower Street for what promises to be another spectacle of colour and music.

Leading the parade is this year's grand marshal Molly McDonald, who is one of the oldest residents in Coolgreany. Molly is being recognised for her continued support of various community events in the area.

There will be a variety of local groups adding to the atmosphere including Athletic Club, GAA clubs, Handball Club, Late Bloomers and Ballyflanagan Montessori.

The viewing stand will be located at the top of the village with commentary from John Rush. The judges will be kept busy choosing the winners of six categories including best overall, walking entry and float.

A fun duck race will follow after wards at the river near Lower Street. Ducks are €3 each. The May Byrne Trust House will be open during the parade for refreshments.

Volunteers are still needed, so get in contact with Imelda McCarthy at 087 131055 or Jack Kelly at 086 8517618.

Wicklow People

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