Lanesboro Ballyleague parade organising committee Steve Ormsby, Alan Farrell, Freda Connaughton, Chris Cullen, Chairperson Teresa Costello and James Nolan. PICTURE: Michelle Ghee
The stage is set and the countdown is on, for the annual St Patrick’s day parade in Ballyleague/Lanesboro.
As is the norm, this year’s St Patrick’s day festivities will commence early that morning, with a traditional mass kicking off at 11.30am.
This will be supported by the offerings of many local talents, with the parish choir, champion dancers and traditional Irish musicians, all taking part.
“We always start with the traditional mass at 11.30,” organiser Teresa Costello told the Longford Leader. “That involves the local parish choir, plus champion dancers and some Irish musicians, so it is a big occasion.”
Following on from the maiden activity of the day is the event locals will all be waiting for, the official commencement of the St Paddy’s day parade.
All floats are due to depart from the local St Faithleachs GAA clubhouse and the convoy is expected to arrive into town shortly after 2.30pm.
Also read: Pat Lynch returns as Grand Marshal at Longford town St Patrick's Day parade
Teresa Costello: “The parade will leave from St Faithleachs GAA clubhouse at 2.30 sharp.”
She promised that this year's parade will be as colourful as ever and will feature a familiar face in the shape of the MC.
“It is usually a fairly colourful. It will arrive into town shortly after 2.30pm, with the MC as usual on-stage, TD Eugene Murphy.”
This year’s event, although expected to be as impactful as ever, will have a more simple feel than previous years, with the only ‘celebrity’ guests in the shape of some of our beloved children’s characters.
Also read: Road closures and traffic management for Longford St Patrick's Day parade
Making guest appearances on the day in memory of St Patrick are Ben and Holly, a Giant and some Minions.
“It is really a very simple day,” Teresa noted.
This year, there is a top prize of €250 plus a trophy for the overall prize winner, with the winners of each of the other categories receiving €50 plus a trophy.
The other float categories include most original float, best dressed window, best junior, best club, best business and the best vintage.
Also read: Over 40 floats expected in Ballymahon for St Patrick's Day parade
There is no theme to this year’s parade, with organisers opting for the simplistic approach to allow for greater creativity.
The presentation ceremony will take place later that evening, at Adie's bar.
Teresa told the Leader: “Afterwards we have the presentation ceremony at Adie’s Bar and Restaurant and the results of the parade given out then as well.”
“We are keeping it simple enough. There is no theme this year, so that means the variety can be much larger.” she added.
For anyone looking to enter a float into this year’s parade, the closing date is set at Wednesday, March 13. All entries must be given to Freda Connaughton, who is the secretary of the parade, or Teresa herself. They can also be handed into O’Briens corner shop in Lanesboro.
Teresa said: “Anybody who has not entered, will not be judged. So, they need to push to get their entries in as soon as possible.”
“They can give all entries to Freda Connaughton, who is the secretary, or they can leave it into O’Brien’s corner shop or send it to myself.” she urged. The raffle will also take place again this year, with prizes worth €500 in total up for grabs.
Teresa Costello: “The raffle goes ahead this year as well.” Teresa commended the local community for not only continuously supporting the event, but also for helping organise it and for helping source sponsorship. She then urged the locality to continue with their great record of support.
She said: “It is kind of a simple day, but a colourful and nice day. It’s a fun day out for all of the family.
“I would like to ask the public to continue with their support, as they always do. I would also like to thank the stewards and all of the people who have sponsored us. The community is great at sponsoring us, it’s brilliant,” Teresa concluded.
Everyone’s looking forward to an enjoyable day.