St. Patrick’s Day parades used to be a regular feature of village life in Rathvilly when I was growing up. I guess things like insurance and the irregular weather played a part in the phasing out of this tradition. Nowadays, the bigger towns nearby serve the needs of all and often you can start early and go from town to town to catch all the features.
The Rathvilly parades were eventful, especially as the participants used to line up outside this authors house in preparation for the march up the hill to the village green. St. Patrick Day was that time when you were stripped of your intelligence for not knowing where somebody else left the ‘cello tape’ or you could be a convenient ‘holder-up’ of banners when somebody else failed to show up.
One year, I helped my younger brother to make a bat-man outfit using black bin-liner bags; he won the prize for best fancy dress. We used to have our own village pipe-band and vintage tractors are never in short supply in these parts. It was surprising that there were actually people waiting to cheer the parade as it passed through the village green, there were that many participants representing the various clubs and groups.
By 2017, I had fully recovered from the trauma of not knowing the whereabouts of misplaced cello tape and so, I boldly went to Carlow to view the parade. I was very impressed with the level of participation and the obvious work that had gone into some of the displays.
People marched unfettered by the rain in outfits of all manners but certainly not rain proof. The piped band brought back memories of our old Rathvilly parades and of field days (agricultural fares).
It was lovely to see the cultures of Africa and Poland represented too and there was a fabulous array of fancy jaguars and other classic cars. Not quite as many tractors as some of the other .local parades perhaps but lovely to see the ‘Shirt Off Your Back’ charity with their decorated ‘boot’ and the float that was dedicated to Walt Disney who had ancestral connections with Carlow.
No matter where you are in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day you will not be short of choice for parades to attend. The wearing of shamrock is something we are proud to display as a symbol of being Irish, although it was originally a symbol of faith.
If parades are not your thing be warned, you need to plan your route carefully if traveling by road on March 17th. Best to set off early, as you will most likely encounter delays and diversions in the middle of the day.
St. Patrick’s Day has become a global celebration of being Irish but this year it appeared to me that it had taken on an added meaning. Is it just me or does that added meaning represent the spirit of friendship? Well it certainly feels like something positive and long may it last.
What has been your favourite memory of St. Patrick’s Day either in Ireland or overseas?
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Take a look at the highlights of this years parade in Carlow! VIEW VIDEO