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Thursday, 29th February 2024

Drogheda’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade to be bigger and better than ever

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Drogheda Patrick's Day committee Chairperson Sarah Taffe and the larger than life Kieran Gallagher of Kada KaBoom Arts, and parade highlights The Absurdist Pipe Band, get in the picture at Millmount.

By Andy Spearman

My daughter Sally was born on Saint Patrick’s Day and when she was a little girl I used to tell her I’d ask the Mayor to arrange a parade to celebrate her big day. Sadly, for a couple of years, her birthday cake was served on beer mats in McHugh’s pub after the parade.

I’m not sure how long she believed my lies for but I do remember her telling her little brother Denis that we parents didn’t love him as much as her because there was never a parade on his birthday. We had birthday parties at home after that.

One year there was a troupe of majorettes taking part and Sally was immediately smitten by them and her only focus in life was to become a “pomp pom girl” as she called them.

She’d march up and down the garden throwing random sticks in the air and try to catch them without missing a step or losing her balance. Thankfully it was a phase in her life that didn’t last too long.

In the intervening years the Drogheda Saint Patrick’s Day has improved beyond recognition and this year it is set to be bigger and better than ever.

A lot of this is down to the work of the new committee and the input from the Droichead Arts Centre whose preparations are in full swing.

Drogheda born film star and musician Colin O’Donoghue is this year’s Parade Grand Marshall and the all-important parade sponsors are Wogan Build, Love Drogheda BID and Louth County Council.

Droichead’s artistic team  of Vivienne Byrne, Yvonne Dowd Gardiner, Darrin Finnegan, and Breda Marron, led by Artistic Director Kieran Gallagher have been working for the past few months with 60 children from two schools, St Marys National School and  Gaelscoil An Bhradáin Fheasa, to create a spectacle around the theme of Drogheda Through the ages.

Pupils at St Mary’s primary School where preparations are underway for the parade.

The team are also working with the Special Olympics Drogheda and Droichead Youth Theatre again, and for the first time they are working with Drogheda’s Men’s Shed who will bring their skills and talent in making and creating to the spectacle.   

“Droichead are delighted to participate in the Parade in Drogheda” said Director Collette Farrell. “Big thanks to our funders and sponsors, including Drogheda Credit Union for 2024, who make this work in the community possible.  

Most people are happy just to stand with their children and wave as the parade passes by but many must wish they could take part.

Well, if you have a bike and are up for a laugh, the Drogheda Cycling Group is calling on cyclists young and old to join them to demonstrate the fun and variety of cycling in all its forms.

“We are entering the St. Patrick’s Day parade this year to demonstrate that cycling is something for everyone” said the group’s chair, Noel Hogan.

“We have regular bikes, cargo bikes, bikes with trailers, bikes with child seats, even a bike shaped like a submarine!

“We are calling on anyone else who shares our philosophy of cycling for all to join us. We are looking for interested people to email us at droghedacycling@gmail.com as soon as possible to confirm a place”.

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