July 18, 2024
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PICTURE SPECIAL: Thousands join in the St Patrick’s Day festival fun across Kilkenny

KILKENNY was buzzing in more ways than one today as an estimated 15,000 people thronged the city-centre for the 2019 St Patrick’s Day Parade.

The city was a riot of colour, albeit mostly a shade of green, as people of all ages joined in the festival fun.

Hero cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan led the parade as this year’s Grand Marshall, and the Mooncoin mother-of-two was followed by acts of all shapes and sizes, from flame throwing giants on stilts to a massive mechanical bumble bee courtesy of the Spraoi performers.

The theme of this year’s parade was ‘Bring Back the Bees’, and the black and amber bee is being honoured throughout the bank holiday weekend with various talks and displays to underline their vital role in pollinating the food on our table.

Outside of the city, parades also took place in Urlingford, Thomastown and – for the first time – in Ballyragget.

Traffic diversions were put in place from this morning. And despite some forecasts to the contrary, the weather – for the most part – held up, although many in the city had to dive for cover just after 2pm when a shower of hailstones temporarily rained on the parade.

The parade followed a new route this year, starting at the Market Yard, travelling via Parliament Street, High Street and The Parade to finish on the Castle Road. The parade was followed by a free concert and various events in the Castle Park.

Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people gathered for more than 100 parades and festivities in cities, towns and villages to mark St Patrick’s Day.

In his traditional St Patrick’s Day message, President Michael D Higgins said: “May I, on this St Patrick’s Day 2019, send my warmest greetings as Uachtaran na hEireann, President of Ireland, to all our extended family across the world.

“Wherever you may be, and in whatever circumstances, you are part of Ireland’s global family joining with us as we celebrate our shared Irishness, its culture, heritage and history.”

PICTURES: Shane Doran 

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