Preparations are already well underway for the 2014 St. Patricks Day parade, with Darach McQuaid and Jack Murphy, both part of Irish cycling dynasty’s, formally announced as this year’s joint Grand Marshalls. They will kick off the celebration of our patron saint and the schedule of festival activities are set to be better than ever, with an estimated 20,000 spectators taking to the streets of Dundalk in merriment for the occasion.
McQuaid has a strong background in the sport of professional cycling and was co-promoter of the Tour of Ireland, a popular bicycle road race which first debuted in 1953. He is one of the chief organisers involved in bringing the world renowned Giro d’Italia to Ireland in May. Founded in 1909, the Giro d’Italia is one of the largest sporting events in the world and this year, Ireland has the privilege of hosting the Grande Partenza, the race’s starting point.
Jack Murphy, member of the Cuchulainn Cycling Club will also be enjoying getting the day’s activities underway. With numerous national titles and 12 time participant of the “Rás”, Jack has been described as a “legend” by Pat O’Shaughnessy, chairman of Cuchulainn Cycling Club. The club has played a huge role in procuring Dundalk as a prominent feature along the Giro d’Italia route, including the only southern hot-spot sprint. CCC will cycle in the parade this year, led by Darach and Jack, in the pink and white colours synonymous with the Giro d’Italia. Established in 1935, it is now one of the country’s leading cycling clubs with a record membership of 327 cyclists. Pat O’Shaughnessy, who has recently been elected onto the Board of Cycling Ireland, has expressed his excitement about “Dundalk being put front and centre in Ireland” due to the buzz around the Giro d’Italia. “It is a thrill for me after a lifetime in cycling to see it getting the national recognition it deserves, and being the central focus in the parade is the icing on the cake.”
This year, it will not only be the parade itself that will attract the crowds, but the whole weekend will be filled with a range of exciting events for all the family. The weekend festival will include a concert on Market Square, family treasure hunt, vintage car and bike rally and a wide variety of market stalls to browse through can be enjoyed, for free, by all ages. Any groups or clubs wishing to enter the Parade can contact the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 042 9336343 for entry forms.