City Resplendent for Patrick’s Day Parade

Waterford AC were among the most energetic groups in last Tuesday's St Patrick's Day Parade. 								| Photos: Noel Browne

Waterford AC were among the most energetic groups in last Tuesday's St Patrick's Day Parade. | Photos: Noel Browne

This year’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade proved a great spectacle for the thousands who lined the route to cheer on the 60-plus organisations who took the streets of Waterford, making it a great success once more.
Under a theme of ‘Waterford: Together We’re Better’, the Best Overall Entry was won by Children’s Group Link, who thoroughly adopted the motto.

With Tramore, Dunmore, Lismore, Master McGrath plus the city all featuring in this massive float, partly sponsored by Caulfield SuperValu, Children’s Group Link merited their success.

“There was even a Metal Man, boy!” as MC Eddie Wymberry jokingly described to the crowds from the Review Stand.

Children’s Group Link stalwart Brendan Halligan was his typical ‘colourful’ self on the day and was full of fun, which went down well with the huge watching crowds.

Of course this year we had two mayors this year on the review stand with James Tobin representing the City & County while Lola O Sullivan wore the Metropolitan District chain; she also had the Tramore parade to attend that same afternoon.

This year’s Grand Marshal was Deise and Mount Sion hurling legend Tony Browne and he was a most popular choice, getting great cheers as he emerged from a luxury open top car.

Irish dancing kicked off events, followed by the Colour Party of Army and Naval Reserve, the Celtic Thunder bikers (who received a special commendation), along with scouts from the city and county.

Athletics, basketball, boxing and martial arts were also suitably represented. Young members of Waterford AC lads sprinted in front of the Review Stand and were named Best Youth Club/Organisation.

Several Irish dancing schools also paraded along with City of Waterford Brass, the Barrack Street Band, the De LA Salle Scout Pipe Band while the winning band was the Thomas Francis Meagher Fife and Drum Band (founded in 1895) from the Yellow Road.

Another special commendation was presented to the Brick by Brick Group which is raising funds for St Saviour’s GAA and Boxing Clubs, along with the Family Resource Centre, which were subjected to arson attacks earlier this year.

Another notable feature was the presence of so many different ethnic groups in the parade,
demonstrating Waterford’s broadening ethnic base.

Waterford’s Filipino Irish community won the Best Community Walking Entry award, with their native straw house and traditional costume really catching the eye. Other international entries were from Nigeria, India and the Congo.

The Waterford St Herblain Town Twinning connection was represented with students form the Jules Rieffel School walking in the parade. They had been on exchange with their friends from the Presentation School, who had been to France the previous week.

Eddie Wymberry also mentioned the many Brazilian students and workers watching the parade; hopefully we might see some samba on The Mall next year!

The Purple Flag group also made an appearance, while the Kangoo dancers made for a vibrant colourful presence as did the Viqueens on roller skates!

Spraoi had a young contingent this year along with experienced members recreated the age of Antarctic exploration made famous by Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean, and featured a spectacular Council-sponsored whale among their mobile artworks.

Ollie Breslin and his Waterford Youth Arts Group again excelled with their winning float in the community section with wickerwork. They are now 30 years in existence and have 250 youngsters involved in dance, drama, film, visual arts and writing.

Crawford Scaffolding won the best commercial entry with the ‘Ignite’ Production of ‘Sister Act’ promoted with merry nuns on a lorry promoting this comedy show, which really amused the crowd.

The Friends of St Patrick’s Hospital and the elderly made an appearance and repeated their seven year message, calling for investment in the hospital, now long overdue.

Fr Paul Waldron and Dean Maria Jansson said prayers prior to the parade, while Mayor Tobin championed Waterford’s community spirit subsequently.

The weather held up in Waterford while Tramore remained sunny for its 3pm show, which again was a great success. Some floats took in both the city and Tramore parades, which added to the spectacle.

The Tramore Parade commercial entries winners (sponsored by Tramore Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce) were: Crawford Scaffolding for ‘Sister Act’, Tramore Butchers and Peter Flanagan Hurley Maker.

The community entry, sponsored by Tramore Credit Union was won by Hugs Rescue Dogs.

Speaking to The Munster Express, Metropolitan District Mayor Lola O’Sullivan described this year’s parade as “bigger and better than any other year”.

She thanked all those who participated in the parade and praised their voluntary efforts.

For full story see The Munster Express newspaper or
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