TULLAMORE hosted its largest parade ever on St. Patrick’s Day with over 80 entries all on the theme of Music Through The Ages. Starting promptly at 11.30am the bright and colourful spectacle was led by the St. Columcille’s Pipe Band which is celebrating its Centenary this year and appropriately took the Overall Winner prize.
Public response to the parade was very enthusiastic with thousands of people lining the Parade route from High Street to the Kilbeggan Bridge.
The Parade had something of interest for everyone from music lovers to sports fanatics to vintage and classic car enthusiasts. The musical theme was portrayed in various fashions from the tongue-in-cheek references to popular night-spots over the years (Spiders, Pat’s Bar) by the children of Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada and their parents (all bedecked with Elvis quiffs and green mohawks) to the Glee music played by Mullingar Town Band and the lively performances by Tullamore Town Band which has been rejuvenated with numerous new faces.
Participants in the parade came in all shapes and sizes and in all age groups with Tullamore Active Retirement group marching spritely along with many youth organisations including the tiny tots from St. Mary’s Youth Centre promoting their forthcoming show Cinderella, Tullamore Scouts, Tullamore Town FC, Durrow National School, Tullamore GAA Club, the very colurful local ethnic group and the equally colourful local Polish group, the OSPCA (marching with some very well behaved dogs), Kenpo Karate (performing routines as gaeilge), the Phoenix Arts Festival complete with a wing-flapping phoenix, ghostbusters from Charleville Castle, Tullamore Travellers Movement with a traditional camp and musicians, Tullamore Amateur Dramatic Society, a pair of geriatric Jedwards, Killeigh Comhaltas and a beautiful float celebrating the International Year of Forests.
Even the current Offaly Rose was there travelling in style in a Rolls Royce from Annaharvey Limo. Among the earliest marchers were the local Special Olympics group who always participate with such gusto. In between there were a number of St. Patricks, one of them twirling a Tullamore flag. Also marching proudly were members of the local Forresters and at the head of the parade was a colour party from the Defence Forces Reserves, making this a true community parade.
It was a diffiult task for the judges given the high level of the entries but the eventual list of winners is as follows:
Overall: St Colmcille’s Pipe Band
Best Band: Tullamore Town Band
Youth Entry: St Mary’s Youth Centre
Best School : Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada
Most entertaining: Ethnic Group
Best Business : Mc Manus Commercial
Best Community: Killeigh Comhaltas
Best Sport: Special Olympics
Window Display: Aidan Walsh Opticians.
See this week’s Offaly Express for two full colour pages of coverage from the Tullamore St Patrick’s Day Parade