Galway goes green for St Patrick’s Parade
The iconic fountain in Eyre Square will turn green this Friday as Galway celebrates St Patrick’s Day.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to line the streets of the city for the annual parade, the theme of which embraces Galway’s designation as European Green Leaf 2017.
Galway native and extreme adventurer Gavan Hennigan will be the guest of honour for the parade.
The Knocknacarra native made history earlier this year when he completed a 5,000km solo row across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canaries to Antigua in the Caribbean, smashing national, international and world records.
The parade, which will begin at 11.30am, will take its traditional route, with Gavan leading the parade from Father Griffin Road before travelling via Lower Fairhill Road, Dominick Street, O’Brien’s Bridge, Shop Street, William Street, Williamsgate Street, Eyre Square North and finishing at the start of Prospect Hill, where he will be greeted by Deputy Mayor Pearse Flannery. Mayor Noel Larkin is in the US for St Patrick’s Day (see page 4).
Friday’s event, which is expected to attract an audience of up to 30,000, will comprise of 1,000 performers and floats. 150 event staff will also help out at the free non-ticketed event.
The parade will feature an array of community, cultural, sporting and international groups including Ireland’s pioneering spectacle theatre company Macnas, led by the Macnas Young Ensemble. Recognised worldwide for its quality and innovation, Macnas will be accompanied by a fantastical, flowery giant Macnas owl alongside a cacophony of rhythm passion and purpose from the next generation Macnas drummers.
The Young Ensemble have been costumed by Macnas Costume Designer Cherie White and are led by performance Director Debbie Wright accompanied by Éimhín Cradock and the Cloughanover drummers.
Following the parade, family-oriented entertainment will be provided at the plaza on Eyre Square including live music from the Clandestinos, a vintage carousel and amusements and children’s entertainment which will continue over the weekend.
As part of the St. Patrick’s weekend celebrations, a family-fun cycling event will also take place on Sunday 19 March.
Using the Galway City Bike Share Coke Zero Bikes on a race route that will involve High Street, Mainguard Street and Upper Cross Street, the event will feature cyclists from various clubs in the county who will take part in a number of relay races and knockouts of up to 12 laps.
The event, which is being organised by Galway Bay Cycling Club, the Latin Quarter and Nigel’s Cycles, is also a fundraiser for ACT for Meningitis and will run from 5.30pm-7.30pm.
Cycling legend Sean Kelly will be at the launch and will take part in the event on Sunday, when there will also be a celebrity race in the evening.
According to organisers, “This is an opportunity to promote the Coke Zero Bike Share scheme in the city and its new locations and also help promote Galway as European Green Leaf City 2017”.
Parades will also take place throughout Co. Galway, including in Gort where this year’s parade will be led by one of the town’s best-known businessmen, Colman Keane, from 12.30pm.
The theme is ‘Country Culture’ and, as always, a large number of vintage cars and tractors are expected. Other attractions in the afternoon include live music, sean-nós dancing, a display of set dancing by the Gavin Dance Academy and a gymnastics performance by the Gort Gymnastics Club.
Claregalway’s St Patrick’s Day parade meanwhile will be held on Friday from 12noon to 3.30pm in Hughes’ Courtyard.
Attractions include live music, dance, sports, food, kids’ entertainment, a pony and trap and vintage cars. Lackagh Comhaltas Group, The Corrib School of Irish Dancers and Trade Taste Turloughmore are among some of the music and dance events lined up for the afternoon.
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