Gaelic games will be at the centre of this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in the city, under the theme “A Celebration of Kilkenny’s Gaelic Games, Heritage and Spirit” – and 2011 senior hurling captain Brian Hogan is set to be the grand marshall.
With plans for a “walking parade” rather than one with trucks and other vehicles, the aim is to eliminate the barriers along the streets to make the event more enjoyable for young children and people with disabilities, according to the parade committee chairman, Cllr Malcolm Noonan.
“We want to remove the barriers as much as possible, and not just from a cost point of view,” he said. “Because of the theme of this year’s parade, we are going to have a lot of families and a lot of young kids and we want to make it as safe as possible.”
And while the committee wants all Gaelic games-related groups to take part, they are stressing that participants from every walk of life are welcome. “We want people to adapt the theme as much as they want. They can bring a lot of colour into their own floats,” Cllr Noonan said.
The parade will take place in the city on St Patrick’s Day starting at 2pm, winding its way from MacDonagh Junction, along John Street, Rose Inn Street and High Street, and finishing at the Market Yard – and there will also be other entertainment to enjoy over the weekend.
There will be music before and after the parade on the Saturday, and organisers are hoping to have a musical event on the Friday too, to expand the festivities over two or three days.
“We are hoping we can work with Kilkenny Tourism to try and promote Kilkenny as a destination for the entire weekend to celebrate our national feast day and to fill the hotels, restaurants and pubs,” Cllr Noonan said. “The goal in the longer term is to build the St Patrick’s Day Festival into a significant event in Kilkenny’s festival calendar.”