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Monday, 13th March 2023

Salmon of knowledge returning to the Boyneside for Patrick’s Day

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Craft worker Rosaleen Dunne with  puppets created for the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Paddy Dermody of sponsors Coca-Cola.

Giant mythological creatures come to life for St. Patrick’s Day in Drogheda

“What colour should we do his eyes?” - “Dunno, what colour ARE salmon’s eyes?” It’s not every day you have a conversation like that but when you’re preparing a float for the Saint Patrick’s Day parade anything is possible.

“A parade like no other.” That’s what the Drogheda Festivals Committee are promising for this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and, judging by the creative preparations going on at various locations around town, it looks like they will certainly deliver on that promise.

They are drawing on the wealth of creative talent in the local community to produce a magical spectacle with the theme of mythology and legends going back thousands of years.

The salmon in question is “The Salmon of Knowledge” and it is being put together, with funds from Droichead Arts Centre, by five local artists in what used to be known as the Slua Hall but is now the home of the Drogheda Special Olympics Club, and it’s huge, at least 20 feet long.

That’s a big salmon but the Patrick’s Day Parade is a big day. The salmon will be pushed along the parade by members of the Special Olympics Club and Able Vision.

The salmon is ready but the only problem now is getting it to the start of the parade intact.

“We’re thinking of pushing it down the Windmill Road early on Friday morning” said Kieran Gallagher, one of the artists involved. “It’ll be against the flow of the one-way traffic but don’t salmon always go against the flow!”

Hopefully nobody on the Windmill Road will look through their window and think they’re hallucinating as a shiny 20 foot salmon glides by heir window!

Artists Breda Marron, Vivienne Byrne, Yvonne Gardiner, Darren Finnegan and Kieran Gallagher put the finishing touches to the giant Salmon of Knowledge float for the Drogheda Special Oplympics and Able Vision float for the Drogheda St Patrick's Day Parade.

Sarah Taaffe, the Chairperson of the Drogheda Festivals Committee, said “Talented local artists have been very busy making this year’s parade one of the most outstanding in the country. Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda Institute of Further Education, My Streets Ireland and the Love Drogheda BID, have all worked together to develop a more artistic, creative and enjoyable parade.”

“Various community groups have learned from local artists and craft workers how to make these giant puppets and other creations that will certainly add a “wow” factor to the parade.

The funding for this was awarded by My Streets Ireland which they in turn received from the Coca Cola Thank You fund.

“We are also extremely grateful to receive further funding from Love Drogheda BIDs and the Droichead Arts centre” said Sarah.

Artists Breda Marron, Yvonne Gardiner, Vivienne Byrne, Kieran Gallagher and Darren Finnegan with the giant salmon of knowledge they created for the parade. They finally chose green and purple for the eyes! 

“This has created employment for local artists and further trained many students and community groups.

Look out for the spectacular DIFE installation which is over 15 feet high and draws inspiration from a curious blend of Celtic mythology and video games such as ‘God of War’ and movie characters like Thor from Marvel. This float is not to be missed.”

The Love Drogheda float is another creation of a swan with its mythological ties to Bru na Boinne. Boomerang youth group will be showcasing their creation The Goddess Brigid. The Red door have their own beautiful original creation and Pride will be showcasing The Dagda. My Streets Ireland will be showcasing the Morrigan.

Among the other installations, puppets and show pieces to look out for are Boann the Goddess of the Boyne, carried by The Drogheda Boxing club as a tribute to our local hero, world boxing champion Deirdre Gogarty.

 ”We are also hearing of some very creative floats from the local business community and various other groups" Sarah said." This year truly will be special. The children will love it".

Michael O'DOwd of My Streets, Ireland (left) with Rosaleen and Amy Dunne who created some amazing puppets for the parade along with Paddy Dermody from Coca-Cola.

Droichead Arts have done an amazing job of collaborating with children from five different primary schools, all adding their own part towards creating this special show piece with creative dance performance bringing it to life by dance school Kidkast who have brought fun, colour, dance and talent to the parade for many years.

Sarah is reminding local businesses about their shop window competition. The Drogheda Chamber of Commerce will present a trophy for best dressed window. Other awards will be given for the following categories:

  • Best community entry... winner and runner up prize.
  • Overall winner sponsored by Coca Cola perpetual trophy.
  • Most creative entry...winner.
The route of the Drogheda St. Patrick's Day Parade which starts in Palace Street at noon and ends on the North Quay.

“We still need volunteers to help us erect and dismantle barriers, stewards for crowd control and safety on the day plus help cleaning up afterwards” said Sarah. There will be a volunteer and safety night in McHugh’s Barrel venue tonight, Monday 13th March at 7pm. Volunteers can sign up at this and those already on board will be told procedures etc.

The parade simply couldn’t happen without the sponsorship, donations and help of local business, various groups and others. The Drogheda Festivals Committee would like to specially mention the following:

Love Drogheda Business Improvement District as the largest sponsor. Coca Cola, Louth County council, Assist Electrical, 4 Star Pizza, Drogheda Credit Union, Drogheda and the Boyne tourism, D&A Blooms, Bang Bang visual, Drogheda Hire, GT Recovery, Irish cement, The Punt Bar, McHughs Bar, The Barbican, Vincent Black, Mayor Michelle Hall, Cllr Declan Power, Cllr Paddy McQuillan, Cllr James Byrne, Cllr Kevin Callan, The Drogheda Chamber of Commerce and Alterations by Mandy.

Once again, Dominick Street is "sensory Street" where the parade will pass without any loud noises.
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