At the Mullingar St Patrick's Day parade meeting on Monday were, from left, Kim Magee, James Bourke, Adrienne Syron, Eoghan Murray, Ruth Illingworth, Aisling Coleman, Deputy Robert Troy, Mark Hynes, Enda Hynes and Ray Dolan.

Mullingar will have a 2023 St Patrick’s Day parade - if people are willing to help

Mullingar will have a St Patrick’s Day parade and maybe a weekend of events in 2023 if people are willing to help.

Plans for the town’s first parade in six years were initiated at a meeting called by Ruth Illingworth and attended by 10 people on Monday night (November 21).

The possibility of having a series of events – a marching bands parade on the Thursday evening, the eve of St Patrick’s Day, a parade on the day and a cultural event over the weekend, was considered.

Ideas for fire breathers, motorcycle stunts, army tanks and a circus to be included in the parade were considered.

The Ukrainian community and other nationalities would be encouraged to take part, along with businesses, schools, sports, community and music groups.

Kim Magee revealed that Mullingar Town Band are fully booked for St Patrick’s Day, but might be able to make an appearance on their way home and failing that, they might play on the evening before.

She said she would see what bands would be available on the eve or on the day.

Robert Troy, TD, agreed to ask Julia Dalton of the Fleadh Executive Committee to email their large cohort of volunteers to see if any of them would be willing to work at the parade.

If two or three percent of them came on board, it would be adequate, he said. He said he would talk to Westmeath County Council about what support they could offer.

Eoghan Murray offered to liaise with sports clubs to see which of them would be interested in taking part in the parade. He said schools should participate too, adding that a parade gives the town back to the children.

It was suggested that schools could hold competitions with a St Patrick theme leading up to the event and maybe build floats.

Ray Dolan was in favour of having a weekend of events and although he confessed he had never been on a committee in his life, he was willing to join this one.

Aisling Coleman of Mullingar Chamber of Commerce pledged their support with marketing, secretarial and logistics backup.

Ruth Illingworth said it would be sad if the capital town of the county had no parade and if it was possible to bring half a million to the town for a week for the fleadh, surely it was possible to organise a parade.

Ms Illingworth agreed to talk to the gardaí, the Order of Malta and the Civil Defence to enlist their support.

A meeting will be held next Monday night, in The Greville Arms Hotel, to form a committee. Anyone interested in helping is urged to attend and bring a friend.