An estimated 50,000 people lined the streets of Limerick today to enjoy the festivities and embrace all that the Limerick St. Patrick’s Day Parade had to offer. Limerick’s main thoroughfares were a cacophony of colour with 1,500 participants from over 40 community groups taking to the city streets.
This year’s parade was led by Grand Marshal, award winning actor Jon Kenny, who travelled the 1.6km route on the bicycle he regularly cycles along the Limerick Greenway.
Jon Kenny said: “Everyone was lovely, the atmosphere was great, and the enthusiasm of the crowd, it’s just so fantastic to see so many people out, enjoying themselves, taking part. It’s actually really interesting being in the parade because so many times I’ve been watching it from the side so it was lovely to get all that energy from the people directed at you. Really brilliant.”
In celebration of this year’s theme ‘Discover Limerick,’ the parade included a Viking invasion as some of Limerick’s “first residents” arrived in style on board a reconstruction of a 40-foot-long Viking long ship as featured in the hit TV series ‘Vikings’
They were flanked by rhythmic warriors The Hit Machine Drummers and Viking gymnasts from Southside Gymnastics Club.
Parade goers were treated to musical performances from a host of local bands as well as spectacles from visual artists Buí Bolg, Lumen Street Theatre’s 3 metre high Treaty Stone replica and Limerick Youth Dance Company’s bronzed dancers inspired by the city’s Singer from Quimper sculpture.
The Ukrainian PEACE Group featured 200 people singing, marching and performing as the parade sadly marked the plight the Ukrainian nation, impacted by the war, for a second year. The Ukrainian flag flew side by side with the Irish flag as they were paraded down the route.
A special autism friendly area, which included a sensory room, covered marquee and seating area, meant that those with sensory issues could enjoy the parade.
Cathaoirleach of the Limerick Metropolitan District Cllr Olivia O’Sullivan said: “I’m so glad we got the weather. It was touch and go with the rain but I think people were going to come out regardless because we had a couple of years when we didn’t have this and I think it’s made us appreciate it all the more when we can get out into the streets. The colour and the celebratory atmosphere, it’s just wonderful to see it. It’s a positive, uplifting day in the city. It takes a lot of work to make this happen, a lot of work that is unseen but to everybody that’s putting their shoulder to the wheel today thank you so much because you are delivering for Limerick.”
Winners in the parade were:
Best Overall Performance – Scoil Uí Nualláin
Best Represents ‘Discover Limerick’ Theme – Southside Gymnastics Club
Best Community Award – Limerick Dragons
Best Creative Entry – Limerick Youth Dance Company Woman from Quimper Statue Dance
Best Youth Group – Limerick Youth Service
Best Musical Performance – St. Mary’s Fife and Drum Band
Judges Special Mention – Ukrainian PEACE Group
The weekend festivities continue until Sunday with a host of family-friendly events taking place including:
St. Patrick’s Festival Street Show Saturday – Bedford Row & Thomas Street – 18 March
Join us for an afternoon of comedy, high-energy acrobatics, mind-boggling manoeuvres and jaw dropping antics as street performers Wobbly Circus, Hakuna Matata Acrobats, Fanzini Brothers, Stephen McGinley’s crazy circus, and magician Jack Wise wow the crowds with performances from 12 noon to 3pm.
51st Limerick International Band Championship – Limerick City Centre – 19 March
Limerick City centre will abound with the sound of beating drums, brilliant trumpet tones and rhythmic marching musicians from across the globe for what is a uniquely Limerick experience. A 400-strong marching band from the University of Florida will be among the 1,500 talented musicians taking to city streets for the 51st edition of the Limerick International Band Championship. Come along and show a warm Limerick welcome for the five US bands competing this year, along with 14 other groups from Canada, Northern Ireland, Donegal, Dublin, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Westmeath. The parade will end with a free jamboree in Arthur’s Quay Park where this year’s winners will be crowned!
Panoramic Wheel - Arthur’s Quay Park - 11 March - 21 April
Ready to take your St. Patrick’s weekend celebrations to new heights? Soar above the city and take in the stunning 360 degree views across Limerick’s skyline on the spectacular 38-metre panoramic wheel. Sky-high fun for all the family.
St. Patrick’s Weekend Unlocked at Limerick Milk Market – 17 – 20 March
Soak up the delicious buzz and discover the best of local, fresh produce at Limerick Milk Market – a local haven for foodies. To add to the weekend celebrations, Irish Chamber Orchestra’s Sing Out with Strings ensemble have planned a pop up performance on 18 March while ArtLimerick’s creative community showcase their beautiful local artwork at the annual St. Patrick’s Art Fair on 19 March.
Family Fun on Cruises Street – 16 – 19 March
Limerick City Centre Traders’ Association presents St. Patrick's Festival fun entertainment for all the family! Bring the kids along to enjoy the beautiful vintage carousel and traditional carnival rides.
Grooveyard is producing this year’s Limerick St. Patrick’s Festival on behalf of Limerick City and County Council along with partners Analog Devices, Mr. Binman, Maldron Hotel and Fáilte Ireland.
Media Sponsors are Limerick Leader, Live 95, Limerick Post, Spin South West and I Love Limerick.