BLESSED with a window of fine weather that lasted for its entire duration, Roscrea's 41st St. Patrick's Day Parade was a celebration of community spirit that also showcased the myriad of musical and sporting talent in the town.
Everything from singing dogs to black-belt karate experts paraded through the town's main thoroughfare last Sunday, where brief interludes of welcome sunshine warmed the large crowds lining the streets, which mushroomed quite suddenly after the Parade got underway at 3:30pm.
For the first time, this year's Blessing of the Shamrock ceremony was held the night before, hosted upstairs in Mickey Phelan's Market House, the traditional epicentre of activity for the organisers of the Roscrea Parade since the days of Roscrea Junior Chamber overseeing it.
At that ceremony, local retired PP, Fr. Tom Corbett sent a message to Saint Patrick from Roscrea “looking for some good weather,” and Saint Patrick was certainly smiling on Roscrea as the clouds cleared just as Grand Marshall, Paul Spencer, led the Parade up Castle Street.
Highlights of this year's event included the McDonagh Pipe Band from Templemore who gave a rousing performance as they marched through the town centre, while fantastic floats from Corville National School, the Tidy Towns, Bernie's Super Valu and Zumba with Irina among many others brought the town to life and had the youngsters dancing in the audience.
Greeting the floats as they arrived at the zebra-crossing at the Post Office was former Parade Committee Chairman, Steve Crofton, who this year stepped down from the role and warmly welcomed new Chairman, Shane Lee, who became a giant St. Patrick for the event, walking through the Parade on tall stilts.
Roscrea SPCA's procession of beautifully decked out and very obedient dogs was a favourite with the crowds, while perennial favourites like the Knock Tractor Club, World Tae-Kwon-Do, Roscrea Estates Soccer League and the Lion's Club also put great effort into their displays.
The day was spared any hiccups, apart from when a Bus Eireann coach unexpectedly got caught in the Parade and became an unwitting participant, adding some impromptu humour which was handled expertly by MC Adrian Hewson and the local Gardai who helped the bus negotiate the crowds and return to its journey.
Speaking to the Tribune after the event, Parade Chairman, Shane Lee, said he and the new organising committee were “delighted” with how the the town's 41st, but their very first, St Patrick's Day Parade had gone and thanked all the local businesses, organisations, individuals and sporting groups who worked so hard to take part.
The winners of this year's Parade prizes and trophies were: Best Overall Chamber of Commerce Perpetual Trophy & €200 – Scoil Iosef Naofa (Corville National School); Best Schools entry-Bernie’s Super Valu Perpetual Trophy – Corville National School; Best Business Float- Lupton & Associates Perpetual Trophy – Richard Brosnan and Brosnan’s Recovery Service; Best Sport/Youth – RCTLC Perpetual Trophy – Zumba with Irina; Best local community group – RCDC Perpetual Cup - Roscrea SPCA; Best Cultural and Traditional – John O’Donnell Perpetual Shield – Roscrea Lion’s Club; Best visiting Band- Michael Delahunty Perpetual Trophy - McDonagh Pipe Band; Tesco Perpetual Shield – Knock Tractor Run; Best entry from a Local Club sponsored by Tidy Towns – Roscrea Scouts; Special Recognition Award – sponsored by Roscrea Credit Union – Pat O’Brien (St. Patrick’s with Rod the Dog); Special Merit Award – St. Patrick’s Day committee – Roscrea Street League. Best Schools Project sponsored by Roscrea Heritage Society: - Gael Scoil Shlí Dála. Special Awards – Shop Window Display sponsored by Roscrea Heritage Society
1st Percival’s, 2nd Frawley’s and 3rd Petal’s Florist.
The Parade organisers would also like to congratulate Maria Hennessy winner of the Facebook competition for the OPW Family Heritage card and also to Liam McGrath and Margaret O’Donoghue, winners of the OPW Family Heritage Card from the free street raffle donated by Roscrea Heritage Society.
Chairman Shane Lee on behalf of the Roscrea’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Organising Committee made up of Marie Tooher, John Lupton, Pamela Aitken, Steve Crofton, Catriona Fletcher, Mary Heffernan, Sean Delaney, Derek Russell, PJ Wright, Michael Madden, Michael Smith and Arthur Crawford would like to thank all who helped out in any way in making the 41st Parade such a success.
The organisers would especially like to thank the following: Guest of Honour and outgoing Chairman Steve Crofton, MC Adrian Hewson, Paul Phelan of Phelan’s Market House for hosting the Pre-Parade reception, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Ros Cré for providing music at the Pre Parade reception and on the Review Stand before the Parade, Teresa Delaney and Mary McNamara for the face painting, Shane Reynolds for the sound, Sean Doherty for the speakers, The Baby Shark song: Saoirse Flannery, Blaithín Bolger and Francis DeLewis, Allanah Cleary, Leah Ryan and Caoimhe Flannery for costume dress up in parade, Fr. Harding, Petals, the Marshals, Paddy Reidy of the C.E. Scheme, Mary Conroy – Roscrea Tidy Towns, Gearoid Doherty of Doherty Hardware and Daire Coughlan of Coughlan Hauliers for providing the use of their trailer and lorry and helping hand on the day, the Garda Siochana, all the participants of floats and the Judges – Siobhan Bowe and Andrew Walsh for the judging of the parade. Thanks to the media for great coverage of the parade, Tipp FM, and also to PJ Wright, Sean Hogan and Noel O’Meara – photographers.
The organising Committee would also like to extend their gratitude to all the sponsors who made the event possible: Tipperary County Council, Roscrea Credit Union, Roscrea Vintners, Roscrea Lions Club, The Cosy Kitchen, Theresa’s Alterations, Looby Tiles, Phelan’s Market House, Dr Pauline DeFeu, Percival’s, John McQuaid, Tobin’s – Jewellers, Michael J Breen – Solicitor, AIB, Donal O’Meara – Roscrea Express, St. Cronan’s National School, St. Vincent de Paul, Lupton & Associates, Roscrea Shopping Centre, Mitchell Auctioneers, Bernies Super Valu, Roscrea Sinn Fein, Supermac’s, McDonald’s, Seamus Coonan, Racket Hall, Michael and Sinead Lynch - Biddy’s Bar, Redmond’s - Photographer’s and Mulrooney GALA and everyone who gave so generously to the Church gate collection and to the fundraiser in Bernies Super Valu for our Valentine’s Hamper. Thanks to all the businesses for dressing their shop windows. Special thanks to Roscrea Heritage Society for sponsoring the Best Dressed Window and Roscrea Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring Best Overall Entry in the Roscrea St. Patrick’s Day Parade
See page 8 for more parade photographs.