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18 Aug 2022

Virtual St Patrick's Day parade planned in Offaly town

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A recording by the late Gerry Rock will feature in the virtual parade

LIKE all other St Patrick's Day parades, the annual Clara event has fallen victim once again to the coronavirus.

However hot on the heels of the success of Bertie's Virtual Christmas parade, organiser Bertie McMahon has decided to have a virtual online parade this St Patrick's Day in Clara.

Bertie, who has organised one of the largest parades in the Midlands for may years, is already putting together hundreds of images from his archives.

These images will be shown on “Little Town Media” social media platforms on Wednesday, March 17 next.

Sport, music, fun, entertainment and great memories will all be featured.

There will be snippets from the 1993 parade as well as historic interviews by Barry Flynn and Ricey Scully.

The two Lord Mayors, Paddy Fitzpatrick and Paddy Dolan, will feature as will Clara GAA greats, Peter and Willie Nolan.

There will also be a host of musical guests including a rare recording from 1963 of Michael and Rosie Mullen at the Fleadh Cheoil in Mullingar.

Irish dancers will include Celtic Blondes and Sarah Hennessy and the Streamstown Youth Dancers as well as Clara Youth Dancers.

The Ballinamere Dancers will also feature as well as dancers from Castletowngeoghegan and the Ollie Conroy Dancers.

There is also a selection from Nora Carroll featuring Nigel Davey and Clara Dancers dancing in the convent in 1988.

Singers will include Joe Reilly, accompanied by Martin Poland, Teresa Flynn and Pat Mullen, singing his own song about Clara and Davy Kavanagh.

Matt Fleming, Ferry Rock and Vin Dunne all feature from 1989 while is is also music from the Morinos.

The national anthem will be sung by Billy Digan.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Offaly's first All-Ireland senior football final win in 1971 and to mark the occasion the winning captain, Willie Bryan will officially open the virtual parade.

To finish the show music by the Silver Spire Ceili Band from Mullingar will be played along with dancing from the Ganley Dancers from Clara.

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