LIMERICK city and county will be greener than ever this St Patrick’s Day with a city landmark going green for the first time and a county Limerick village hosting its first ever parade.
The 17 storey Clarion Hotel on Steamboat Quay will be in good company this Saturday when it joins Niagara Falls, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the London Eye and Table Mountain in South Africa on a list of well-known landmarks being lit up to celebrate Ireland’s national holiday.
Dr Ed Walsh, the founding president of the University of Limerick will lead more than 4,000 participants in the St Patrick’s Day city parade, as grand marshal.
“There is so much on in Limerick this weekend, come on in, enjoy yourselves, come watch the parades and enjoy your city,” said Fran O’Donnell, festival organiser.
“It’s the first Bank Holiday weekend of the year, we have a colourful parade with a fantastic variety of entries, traditional music trails, racing, post parade activities in the Hunt Museum and the Milk Market and we’re holding a céili mór which is set to be great fun,” he added.
In what will be one of her first official functions since being crowned the Limerick Rose on Friday night, Adare’s Suzanne O’Brien will also take part in the parade.
The theme of this year’s parade is ‘The World in Union’ which will celebrate Limerick’s huge community base, its ethnicity, diversity and the fact that St Patrick’s Day is now truly a global phenomenon.
The Limerick St Patrick’s Day parade regularly attracts more than 70,000 spectators onto the streets of the Treaty City.
Among the many attractions this year will be the Limerick military entry which will be led by the colour party down the traditional route of O’Connell Street past the review stand to Merchant’s Quay.
Ireland’s largest tricolour will be carried by students from Villiers School – the 2012 flag ambassadors.
The city streets be alive with traditional music thanks to a new city ‘trad trail’ across the many musical pubs.
And for those keen to brush up on their Irish dancing they can do so at the céili mór at Pery’s Hotel in Limerick city on St Patrick’s night.
Meanwhile, the celebrations will also be in full swing across towns and villages in the county where a number of parades are taking place.
Anticipation is building nicely in the village of Ballylanders which is preparing to host the first ever St Patrick’s Day parade in the history of the parish.
“Basically we wanted to do something to bring a bit of atmosphere to Ballylanders. We felt the local businesses definitely needed it and we also have good facilities to facilitate a St Patrick’s Day parade. We have everything going for us,” said James Keating from Ballylanders who is one of the organisers of the parade.
“There will also be an open air ceili and shows in the village park following the parade,” he added.
Vintage and classic cars, local sports clubs and scouting groups will all feature in the Castleconnell parade which starts at 12.30pm from the Castle Oaks Hotel car park.
“We will have all the usual attractions. It is a day very much focused on the community and bringing people out and giving them something to smile about,” said a spokesperson for the ACM (Ahane/Castleconnell/Montpelier)Committee who are organising this year’s parade.
“Different businesses are involved in the floats. Hopefully the weather will be nice,” added the spokesperson.