FOUR local groups have been awarded for their floats in the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade.
With 50 groups participating, it was a tough challenge for the judging panel of John Dumecz, Jane Russell, Alison McGrath, Lesley Cleere and Malcolm Noonan, but in the end winners were chosen in four categories: Most Creative, Best Community Group, Best Young People’s Group and Most Entertaining. The prizes were presented by Mayor Martin Brett in the Ormonde Hotel on Saturday.
The award for Best Young Person’s Group went to St John of God NS. The primary school on New Street, Kilkenny is working toward a fourth Green Flag under the theme of ‘Travel’. Their float made from papier-mâché attached to a shopping trolley was made by pupils from the Green Schools committee with the help of Siobhan Hegarty. The Shine Group won the award for Best Community. For their float, members of Shine and members of the public came together to produce a Chinese dragon. Shine’s core interest is to remove the stigma around mental health.
The Most Creative award went to Conahy and Knocknadogue communities. Their float highlighted the large number of young people leaving Ireland for Australia and “if they stay at home, the only option available to them is to go back to the horse and plough”. The horse and plough also represents “what will happen this country with the continual rise in oil prices!!”
North Kilkenny also took home the award for Most Entertaining float, courtesy of The A Team, Castlecomer. This dramatic float was inspired by the American action adventure TV series about a fictional group of ex-US Army Special Forces personnel “who work as soldiers of fortune, while on the run from the Army after being branded as war criminals for a crime they didn’t commit”.
Thousands of spectators turned out on the day to see these and other floats under the theme “Alive with Creativity”, and the organising committee offered its thanks to all who participated, including the bands who performed in the afternoon and into the night. The 2011 event was deemed a great success and Mayor Martin Brett during his presentation of prizes speech on Saturday complimented all those involved, in particular the MCs, including the KCLR team of Edwina Grace and Martin Bridgeman, and George Candler.
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