Hundreds of people enjoyed Kilcormac’s St Patrick’s Day parade as enthusiastic participants provided a thought provoking and fantastic fun filled afternoon once again this year.
Now in its 34th year, many colourful contributions featured on the day as the town once again put together a wonderful display of pageantry to mark St Patrick’s Day. Thirty floats and dozens of participants readied themselves for the event to kick off at 3.30pm when the Tribune arrived on Sunday last as spectators trickled onto the streets behind the barriers, all smiles, to enjoy this wonderful spectacle. Soon, the sound of St Brigid’s Pipe Band, from nearby Mountbolus, was heard as they marched towards the viewing stand.
Taking the mic, MC, Paddy Buckley welcomed everyone to “this great occasion” once again before thanking everyone for coming along to the 2019 parade. As the much loved pipe band passed the viewing stand, Paddy could be heard saying that it was “always a privilege to have the band come to Kilcormac over the last 34 years”. Moving away, the band was closely followed by the first entry, from Scoil Mhuire agus Cormaic, with their take on the forthcoming “local elections 2019”.
This election was being hotly contested by many characters including Kilcormac’s own Cllr John Leahy and Carol Nolan, TD. There was also international interest from Donald Trump,Theresa May and Vladimir Putin. Not to be outdone, the Santas, Nanny McPhee, Aladdin, Harry Potter and many other superstars had thrown their hats into the ring. There’s was a massive turnout from near and far, the hoola girls, leprechauns, Wally and even the Grannies while the event was covered by RTE. And, to ensure there was was no funny business, Kilcormac’s very own Conor McGregor was on hand to man the polling booth. “What a superb entry,” remarked Paddy before they moved off.
Following closely behind was Colaiste Naomh Cormac with “Under the Sea”. The crowd heard how a group of students went on a fishing trip on a boat, made in the school by pupils in 1982. While the students saw many beautiful things on their recent trip, they also saw terrible destruction being caused by pollution. And, so this inspired their entry into the parade this year. The float showed the plastic collected from one fishing trip and the crowd were informed the school’s green committee were working hard to combat the issue of rubbish and waste by recycling and composting. All of the materials used in this year’s float were made from recycled materials including old lampshades, old musical props, recycled cardboard and paper. The students also had a strong message for everyone. “Don’t just be green for St Patrick’s Day. Be green everyday.”
Frankford FC soon came into sight and according to the event’s MC continued to “go from strength to strength” since it was established in 1981. Kilcormac Community Childcare” then followed closely with a “great show of community spirit”. This entry once again saw a large number of parents and children put on a colourful display for this year’s parade.
”Dancing with the little Stars” (Rian and Siomha Leamy) were hot on their heels, dressed as Johnny Ward and Emily Barker. The duo, aged 4 and 6, then entertained the crowd with a two hand jig, commissioned especially for this entry, hoping they would get a good score from the judges. It was then just announced that “Ant & Dec” (Lochlann Fletcher & Tieran Donnelly) were heading back to the jungle in 2019 for I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. This was great news for the crowd as Ant “got legless and Dec was determined to get him back on his feet”, the MC said. Next up was little Juno Carroll, dressed as the lovely “flower girl”.
The theme then changed with the arrival of the first of many vehicle entries, a gorgeous Harley Davidson motorcycle, revved by. This was followed by a “baby Austin” and a Morris Minor. The Sunrise Vintage Club brought along a well restored Massey Ferguson to advertise their Family Fun day, to held on May 26 next in Kinnitty Castle. Two unusual vehicles, army land rovers, then passed the viewing standing, followed by a fabulous blue mini and another Massey Ferguson tractor.
Broughal NS soon brought their colourful pageantry into view. This entry, “The Greatest Show” saw the pupils perform their take on the first circus to be performed and what a show they gave spectators. With clowns, acrobats, knife throwers and fire breathers, they put on a fantastic display and what circus wouldn’t be complete without a boy being shot out of a canon. More vintage tractors, land rovers, and a variety of other stunning vintage vehicles were positioned closely behind this colourful entry.
The next float to head towards the viewing stand was the colourful and thought provoking “The Wall”, put together by a group from the Fivealley in association with Drumcullen GAA and Camogie club. Sponsored by the Mooney brothers and Loughanes, this float was packed with 20 contributors. Some were even so angry “they made a sign” to take part in this colourful display.
Ballyboy CCE took an innovative take on dating in this day and age with their entry, entitled “Meet your match at the Thatch”. A humorous contribution to this year’s parade, it portrayed how matchmakers have performed a vital service in Ireland, bringing people together in love and marriage. It’s a mysterious art and some of the best matchmakers were in fact magical themselves, according to Paddy. With some tips for love, this float had a high entertainment value as it snaked away from the viewing stand.
The station master was soon marching up the street, welcoming the much loved Thomas the Tank engine to town. Kilcormac is the gateway to Lough Boora and this much loved train had travelled from Boora for this special event. “So common folks. Let’s enjoy our local treasure [Lough Boora]. Bring the kids, friends and family and a wealth of adventure and fun awaits you,” the crowd were told. They were followed by a stunning entry from the Slieve Bloom Vintage club.
Next, the striking nurses from Ballyboy, en-route to their protest were up. Noting the recent controversy of plans to build a new children’s hospital, this entry provided much food for thought with a nurses strike in progress while attempts were made to “build the new hospital” as the entry made its way passed.
However, it was the pageantry of the next entry, entitled the “Strokestown Eviction” that certainly caused a bit of a stir when it made its way through the streets of the town. Portraying the recent eviction in county Roscommon, this entry was full of drama and antics as doors were banged down, ruthless measures of eviction displayed and a vehicle was eventually set a light as part of this colourful entry by the Dunican family and friends.
In close pursuit was an poignant entry, “Bord na Mona Facing the perfect storm”, entered by Kevin Bracken and friends. The crowd heard how the company, with a long tradition in the locality, were changing from peat production to other sources of energy production. The float portrayed a number of these including wind energy along with a fish farm on board. The blackboard, positioned in the middle of the float, was a nod to moves by the company to seemingly retrain some of its workers. More vintage vehicles followed this thought provoking effort.
It was a happy St Patrick’s Day from Newton Plant Hire with their float entitled “Ploughing Live with Marty Morrissey”. On this float, RTE were live while president, Michael D Higgins was on hand to officially open the proceedings. With the dulcet tones of Nathan Carter, tractor football provided much entertained for the spectators before it was back to Marty for the balloon competition.
With this cracking entry, the Newton family and friends brought the 2019 parade to a close as Paddy thanked its entrants, volunteers, stewards and all the floats for “once again making this a fantastic event. I would like to thank all the people, who work so hard for the event every year,” he enthused. Warning people to be careful as the N52 through Kilcormac had reopened, the crowd dispersed as quickly as it had appeared, just over an hour later. IT was then down to the judges to make some difficult t decisions about who would receive accolades this year.
Best Overall Float: Bord na Mona faces the perfect storm. Kevin Bracken, Brendan Guinan family & friends. Runner – up Best Float: Ploughing live with Marty Morrissey. Brian Newton and family
Most original float: the wall. Padraic Watkins and friends.
Best Vintage Float: Meet your match in the Thatch. Ballyboy CCÉ.
Best Vintage Vehicle: Joe Clancy 1960s narrow dextor.
Exceptional Entry: Strokestown Eviction. Dunicans & friends.
Cafe Royal National School Perpetual Trophy: The Greatest Showman. Broughal National School.
Paddy Dooley Perpetual Trophy: Thomas comes to Boora. Richard Dooley and family.
Joe Coleman Perpetual Trophy: Colaiste Naomh Chormaic. Under the Sea.
Adult Fancy Dress Winner: Denis Dooley, Station Master.
Adult Fancy Dress Runner Up: Marty Morrissey, Brian Newton.
Children Fancy Dress Winner: Scoil Mhuire agus Chormaic. Local elections 2019.
Children’s Fancy Runners-up: Rian & Síomha Leamy (Johnny Ward & Emily Barker), Lochlann Fletcher & Tiernan Donnelly (Ant & Dec), Juno Carroll (Peggy flower girl).