Abhainn Ri floats away with prize

Cathal, Adian and Eoin Ryan at the Kilkenny City St. Patrick's Day Parade.  (Photo: Eoin Hennessy/www.ehp.ie)

Cathal, Adian and Eoin Ryan at the Kilkenny City St. Patrick's Day Parade. (Photo: Eoin Hennessy/www.ehp.ie)

WHAT reprobate threw half a ham sandwich (with brown sauce on it) at the dignitaries as the float he/she was on passed City Hall on St Patrick’s Day. The flying missile narrowly missed Chief Supt Mick McGarry and Environment Minister Phil Hogan. Gardai are investigating how the culprit managed to miss the two very tall men.

It was just part of the good humoured shenanigans that punctuated the parade this yearts that was watched by an estimated 10,000 people including visitors from the US, Japan, Canada and Cork. It needed to be funny following the hail stone shower which fell at exactly at 2pm as the parade started.

However it failed to dampen the spirits of the participants who waved at the crowds and sang and danced their was down john Street and up High Street.

There is no doubt that without the involvement of the 38 GAA clubs from around the city and county, the parade would not have been as big a success. In all there were 78 entries and by far the most uplifting was the Callan float, from the Abhainn Ri group which had a touch of the magical Macnas about it with large scary characters roaming the streets. It was fantastic. It won most creative float and it really spooked the small children.

The entry by Abhainn Ri Festival was a huge voluntary effort by all sections of the community without whose support such a creative entry would not have been possible The Abhainn Ri festival website will be up and running shortly with all details of the festival this year http://abhainnrifestival.

Event organiser Marian Flannery was delighted with the parade and said that community involvement was key to its success and said she hoped they could build on it for next year and is investigating the possibility of a St Patrick’s weekend festival.

The best community entry came from the Noreview Folk Museum in Bennettsbridge while the best young person’s float was that of the Guides/Brownnies/Ladybirds. The best rural float went to Fr Ted and most entertaining float was judged to be Dicksboro GAA, thanks in large measure to Pat Moylan’s black fishnet tights and large bosom over a low cut black dress complete with dazzling earrings and blond wig. Patsy Dempsey showed off his George Best legs while Jackie Treacy looked divine as the bride of Frankenstein. The best GAA Club float was St Patrick’s of Ballyragget which seemed to be weighed down with silverware and they received a specially want reception following their All Ireland win..

In all, it was a great day with pre-parade festivities including live music and food stalls. The Young Irish Film Makers were on the Parade Plaza from 12.30am and generated a lot of interest. Grand Marshall, Brian Hogan captain of the 2011 Kilkenny Senior Hurling team received a huge reception as did 92-year-old saxophone playing Pat Shortis who must surely be in line for the Freedom of the city after eight decades of entertaining us.

The final performance of the parade included one of Ireland’s much loved songwriters, Don Mescall. Recognised as a genius songwriter and fantastic performer Mescall joined Kilkenny Gospel Choir at City Hall for a rousing performance. Post-parade festivities continued all afternoon with dance performances at Canal Square and Starlight Stage School, the Miami Showband, and the Swinging Blue Cats at the Parade Plaza.

There was a serious side to the event with the anti-water charges group led by community activist, Noel Walsh making their presence felt.




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