St Patricks Day Parade
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Dick Conroy to review Roscrea’s 35th Parade.
Mr. Dick Conroy, who compiled the book “Harmonies and Grace Notes” a book of the history of Roscrea Comhaltas is to review Roscrea’s 35th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade which this year takes place on Sunday, March 17th at 3 o’clock. As well as being Parade Guest of Honour and reviewing it, Mr. Dick Conroy will also be Guest of Honour at a pre-parade reception in Damer Court Hotel for the Parade’s guests, at which the blessing of the Shamrock will take place.
The Organising Committee of Roscrea’s 35th Parade are very grateful to Dick for accepting its invitation to be Guest of Honour. Dick Conroy, like so many others, who have shaped the cultural, social and economic life of Roscrea, is not a native of the town but has made it his home many years ago. Dick who hails from neighbouring Templemore, came to Roscrea as a primary school teacher in the town’s Boy’s National School (BNS) now Scoil Eoin Naofa. He quickly became involved with Roscrea Comhaltas and has also played significant roles in the development of Roscrea Credit Union and in the long campaign by R.C.T.L.C. in securing today’s Roscrea Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool. Dick devotes much of his time today to Roscrea Tidy Towns and to Roscrea’s Citizen’s Advice Centre. It is fitting and also symbolic that Dick, the editor of Roscrea’s Comhaltas 50thAnniversary commemorative booklet, should be reviewing Roscrea’s 35th Parade, as Comhaltas Roscrea played a very significant role in each of Roscrea’s Parades and continues to do so. With respect to another Roscrea legend and Comhaltas member, who came to Roscrea in 1925 to make it his home, Dick himself writes in his own book, “Harmonies and Grace Notes” that “in 1979, aged 80 years, dressed in his kilts he braved the sleet and snow showers and led the first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade through the streets of Roscrea”. While it is hoped that Roscrea will be spared the sleet and snow of March 17th, 1979 the sound of pipes of that legendary man, Irish Patriot and Wexford native, Tommy McDonald will surely echo in the ears of Dick Conroy as he stands to review Roscrea’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday next.
The organising committee are asking people to come onto the streets in large numbers and enjoy the festivities. They also invite individuals, groups, organisations, clubs, businesses, novelty items and community interest groups to enter floats free of charge and add to the diversity of the parade. A new feature of this year’s festivities will be street entertainment made possible through the support of North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Ltd (N.T.L.P.).
The focus of activity will be the Square where the Review Stand will be located, as in past years at the junction of Castle Street and Main Street. Courtesy of the Parade Committee there will be face painting and balloon modelling outside Shaws from 1.30p.m. – 3p.m. The local branch of Comhaltas will entertain the public from 1.30pm until 2.45pm. When the parade has passed the Review Stand some of the parade participants to include a mime artist, juggler, stilt walker and fire eaters will continue to entertain the parade spectators in the vicinity of the Review Stand. The parade committee are grateful to N.T.L.P. for sponsoring this addition to the annual festivities and thus are hopeful that there will be a large attendance of the public on the day. The Organising Committee are also this year holding its annual Shop Window competition, the winner of which will be announced from the Review Stand. The theme for this year’s shop window display, in keeping with the year of “The Gathering”, will be one of “welcome” or “failte”, especially to the Irish who are living outside our shores.
As usual there are a large number of trophies in various categories of parade entries and hence those entering floats are encouraged to make ‘the little extra effort’ which might be rewarded with a perpetual trophy.
The Best overall entry will receive the Chamber of Commerce Perpetual trophy together with a cash prize. The best sporting entry will receive the R.C.T.L.C. perpetual trophy while the best local community group will receive the RCDC Charlie Doyle perpetual trophy. The best Irish Language entrant will receive the Tiobraid Árainn ag Labhairt perpetual trophy. The best Cultural and Traditional entrant will receive the John O’Donnell Perpetual shield while the Michael Delahunty perpetual trophy
will go to the Best Visiting Band. The best Industrial and Commercial entrant will receive the Lupton & Associates perpetual trophy and the best Visiting out of town entry will be presented with the Tesco perpetual trophy. The best entry from a local club or organisation will be presented with the Roscrea Tidy Towns perpetual trophy. A Special Merit shield sponsored by the St. Patricks’ Day Committee will also be awarded, as well as a Special Recognition Award sponsored by Roscrea Credit Union.
As the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is of major benefit to the traders of the town who are opened on St. Patrick’s Day, especially publicans, convenience shops and restaurants, these traders are asked to contribute extra generously in defraying the escalating costs of holding the parade.
Without the assistance of the entire community it would not be possible to continue organising a Parade in Roscrea, as annually the cost increases and fund raising in these economic times, as all will appreciate, is more difficult. The Parade, as in previous years, will assemble at the old Dublin Road from 2.30p.m. to commence at 3p.m., proceeding through Church Street, Castle Street, passing the review stand at the Square and then proceeding up Main Street. Entry to the parade is free of charge and novelty items, vintage cars etc are particularly welcome. Anyone who seeks further information on the parade, the shop window competition or who wishes to enter a float in the parade should contact any member of the committee or the committee secretary Marie Tooher at the community office in the Abbey Hall - phone 0505 23183.