It was great to see St Patrick’s Day celebrated with the usual colour on the streets of Offaly.
To see thousands crowding the streets last Saturday remains a refreshing reminder of how, despite everything, the Irish are still proud to celebrate the national saint’s day.
Anyone who has walked in a parade or been involved in a parade, marching band or float will know that it is a special, unique and unforgettable experience.
There is a sense of pride in being able to express one’s national identity in a simple way. There is also a satisfaction in taking part in such a big community event.
The parades should not be taken for granted. They have become costly to run and local authorities should not forget the importance of supporting them.
Most importantly, we should be thankful for the committees who work, some for many months, ahead of the big day.
The parades would not be possible were it not for the unselfish work from fundraising to marshaling and cleaning up.
As the country goes through tough times we need these committees more than ever to bind us together on St Patrick’s Day.