Sport and Culture along with an emphasis on cross-community involvement are the themes of the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dundalk this year.
Officially launched today by the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and the St. Patrick’s Day Committee at the County Museum in Dundalk, the festival promises to be all things green and entertaining and remind us of what a great place Dundalk is to live, work, visit and invest in.
Street theatre, music, outdoor spectaculars, dance and visual art are guarantees for the Parade which will commence at 1pm at Patrick Street, turning right onto Clanbrassil Street in the traditional manner.
Travelling from afar to take part in the Parade will be the Northern Ireland Friendship Band; Gortaclare Pipe Band from Omagh; Clontibret and O’Neill Pipe Band from Monaghan and the Drogheda Samba Band. Local participants will include The Grace Fellowship; Dundalk FC; KobraKan Kickboxing; Louth County Camogie Club; numerous youth and drama groups as well as local schools, GAA and soccer clubs.
“The Parade goes ahead rain, hail or shine,” said Cllr. Mark Dearey, chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Committee. “A great deal of interest has been expressed in this years’ Parade. Given the tough economic times in the past year, the people of Dundalk have been very proactive and supportive in bringing together local community, some in a voluntary capacity. We very much appreciate this as well as the sponsorship that we have received from local businesses and we look forward to what is going to be a great celebration on March 17th.”
Revered Dundalk FC manager Jim McLaughlin, originally from Derry is grand marshal for the Parade this year. “I am very pleased and honoured to have been invited to take part in the Dundalk St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Sport has always been a great way of bringing people together and the organisers of this year’s Parade are demonstrating a real commitment to sport and culture through the mix of participants taking part in the celebrations. I’m really looking forward to the day.”
Additional to the impressive list of participants in the Parade, the town is offering entertainment for all ages straight after the Parade. Local bands will perform live at the Courthouse from 2pm with The Northern Ireland Friendship band kicking off the afternoons’ entertainment. Following this will be performances by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Dún Dealgan, The Fontanels, The Curtain Thieves and RedTwelve. Family entertainment will provided with a bouncy castle village and marquee in the Demesne area.
The Marshes Shopping Centre will also provide fun and entertainment all day after the Parade. This will consists of DJ/games, entertainment and face painters in the centre; a funfair and big wheel outside at O’Brien’s entrance; set dancers and traditional musicians promising a real festive atmosphere.
Local retailers in Dundalk will have the opportunity to gain business on the day and local eateries McGeough’s and Riva will be open to the public on the morning of March 17th.