All systems green – what’s on for our Patron Saint’s day
It’s all systems green as towns around the county prepare to celebrate St Patrick’s Day 2022 with added gusto, having been deprived of national holiday celebrations for two years.
The Fleadh 2022 committee is leading the charge in Mullingar with a tractor run and a 5k road race.
Delvin is tight-lipped about plans, only saying that it promises a fun filled family day of “music, magic and more”.
Castlepollard is hosting the only parade in the north of the county and the organisers are proudly declaring that it will be a spectacular event and a chance to meet up again.
Tyrrellspass is not holding a parade this year as the local committee decided there was not enough time to organise one, but they promise to be back bigger and better next year.
The Fleadh 2022 committee’s tractor run and 5k race are intended to raise funds for the All-Ireland Fleadh coming home to Mullingar this summer.
The tractor run will start at 3pm and go through the town. Spectators are encouraged to line the route for what promises to be a spectacular display. There will be prizes for the ‘best dressed tractor’ sporting a Fleadh Cheoil or St Patrick’s Day theme and music and fun will be provided along the route.
Registration is at fleadhcheoil.ie/tractor-run-pre-registration/ or on the day from 1pm at Forest Park.
The 5k race is being run in association with the Aon Mullingar Half Marathon and is designed for those who do not feel up to a half marathon. You can register for both races on www.mullingarhalfmarathon.com.
A beautiful medal has been designed especially for the 5k race – unfortunately bling hunters who are doing the half won’t get one!
Enda Seery, a member of the Fleadh committee and a runner, is organising the 5k. He explained that the 5k will start outside Danny Byrnes pub, go up to the Dublin Bridge and right to the canal greenway, out for a couple of kilometres, before looping back to Millmount Road and finishing at the town park.
It is a race for everyone, serious runners, families, anyone who wants to walk or run it, Enda said.
At Belvedere House and Gardens there will be free entry for everyone on March 18. The celebrations will continue on March 19, when there will be social dancing and a family fun day, while on March 20, Rose of The Celtic Blondes and friends will be on hand to play traditional music in the fabulous surroundings of the Visitor Centre Courtyard from 2pm to 4pm.
John Donlon of Delvin told the Westmeath Examiner that they are not holding a traditional parade, but they have exciting plans for a day of “music, magic and more”, but refused to reveal further details at this stage. The event is free this year, so patrons will not need money for anything other than the fine array of foods available from the food stalls on site.
It promises to be a great day’s entertainment for the whole family, a spectacular show, John said. The entertainment kicks off at 2pm with the first live music performance. It will be an outdoor event at the old Delvin mart, where there is plenty of parking.
The president of the Castlepollard parade committee, Donie Cassidy, said this, the only parade in north Westmeath for St Patrick’s Day 2022, is expected to be one of the biggest ever. Mullingar Town Band and Spirit of 52, a German band, will be headlining, having taken part in the parade in O’Connell Street, Dublin, earlier in the day. The grand marshals will be the official Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann musicians for the Westmeath Fleadh, led by chairman, Joe Connaire.
It is expected that an unprecedented number of floats will participate this year with valuable prizes on offer: €500 for the best float, second prize of €200 and third prize of €100.
“We want to see as many floats as possible and we look forward to welcoming back the schools, hurling clubs, football clubs and soccer clubs that bring out their young players to march behind their banners every year,” Donie said. As this is the only parade around it is expected to attract many participants and spectators, he added.
The parade will start at 5.15pm with the national anthem, sung by the legendary Paddy McCabe, and the unfurling of the tricolour by Tona Gaffney, chairperson of the Castlepollard CCÉ branch and the parade committee chairperson, Octavia Tulloch.
It is hoped that many businesses and companies will also take part. The organisers appreciate the support given by local shops and firms every year, and are particularly grateful to their main sponsor, Westmeath County Council, and Mergon, who also give financial support every year.
A fundraising raffle will be held on the day, organised by local publicans led by Michael Comiskey. The first prize is a stay for two in Cassidy’s Hotel, O’Connell Street, Dublin and a tour of the city, sponsored by Martin Cassidy. Second prize is two tickets to the Aviva Stadium, sponsored by Heineken, third prize is a €150 voucher for Murphy’s Hardware, and fourth prize is four tickets to any race meet at Kilbeggan Racecourse, sponsored by Paddy Dunican and Paul Daly.
The Castlepollard parade committee includes: president, Donie Cassidy, chairperson, Octavia Tulloch, vice-chairperson, Martin Smyth, secretary, Lorraine Scally, assistant secretary, Sean Montgomery, treasurer, Gerard Malone, and public relations officer, Russell Mellett. The directors of the parade are Michael Comiskey, Ted Fagan and Kevin Farrelly, and Ollie McCormack is in charge of IT operations.
“The parade will be a great opportunity for us to meet and greet old friends and to welcome them back again,” Donie said.
Statement from the Tyrrellspass St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee: “Following much consideration, it is with regret we inform you that there will be no St Patrick’s Day parade in Tyrrellspass this year.
“Following the announcement lifting Covid restrictions, the time frame to organise a parade was too short. There was simply not enough time to complete all the background work in sufficient time to guarantee a parade taking place. Securing marching bands and other attractions could not be guaranteed.
“By the time we would have had the background work completed, there would be little time for participants to devise floats and entries.
“We want to thank our supporters and contributors over the last few years. Without you, we would never have had the successes we did.
“We can look forward now to St Patrick’s Day parade 2023 and with the help of our dedicated committee and supporters, we will be back, bigger and better than before.”