THE official opening of this year’s Clara St Patrick’s Day Parade will have a distinctly religious feel to it as it will be opened by Father Paddy Keary PP, of St Brigid’s Catholic Church, Clara and the Rev Canon Gerald Field of St Brigid’s Church of Ireland, as a tribute to both churches.
The day will see the launch of the late Martin Molloy trophy for the best overall entry in the parade. The trophy is kindly sponsored by his family. There will also be a presentation to Craig Flynn, for the wonderful work he done with the balloon launch for all deceased in Clara and in the surrounding areas.
The national anthem will be sung by the country’s number one soprano singer Barbara Dignam who has performed nationally at the Theatre Royal, National Concert Hall, RDS and Lismore Castle. She has also performed international festivals in Wales and Czech Republic
The concert in the square will start at 11.30am, with music by Brosna CCE, and Irish dancing from the Ollie Conroy Dancers, Mullingar and Athlone and St Josephs Youth Dancers from Streamstown. There will also be a solo dance from Aideen Brennan and then there will be the Magnificent Eight from Rahan.
Guest singers will be Stacey Buckley and Bobby Kenny. Guest accordionists will be Sarah Hennessy from Doon along with 14 year old Lisa McDonagh from Galway. Despite here tender years, Lisa has already recorded two albums.
The parade organisers would like to thank all our sponsors, the Garda Siochana, Civil Defence, stewards, the FAS workers under Micheal Doolan, Clara Community and Family Resource Centre, Father Keary for the use of the shed for storing the props for the stage, Paul Fitzgerald for the use of the lorries from Synthetics Packaging, Celsus Doolan and Laverne Gibbons of the boys school, Johnny Condron of the Mount Temple for the sponsorship of the barrier and last but not least Clara Scouts for the use of the den.
MC’s for the day will be pride of Rahan and Offaly Mr Joe Monaghan, and also Barry Flynn and Michelle Coyne.
The parade will start at Charlestown Bridge at 12.30pm; all entries are asked to be in positions by 12.15pm.
Immediately after the parade music will be provided by Top Brass There will also be a presentation made to the band for all their services down through the years.
The original members were Cyril and Podge Kavanagh, Christy Wills and Tommy Redmond decided to expand and then joined Vincent Dunne and Aidan Recks. Since then many more members have joined the band now consists of Podge Kavanagh, Cyril Kavanagh, Christy Willis, Aidan Recks, Tommy Redmond, Vincent Dunne, Aidan Mollen and David Recks.
The band recently released their new CD “Back to the good times” consisting of 21 tracks of popular songs from the past five decades. Also due to popular demand their lead guitar player Tommy Redmond has also released a CD containing a selection of guitar solos which was very popular over Christmas.
The committee would like to wish all the participants and viewers of the parade a happy and accident free St Patrick’s Day.