Prolonged Lock-down Knocks Parade for Second Year. But….

Re-tuning at Market Cross: Seán O’Riordan heading the Cullen Pipe Band with leader, Con Houlihan (left) as they take a minute out before heading up along Main Street and a rousing reception in the 2019 and last to date St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Castleisland. ©Photograph: John Reidy 17-3-2019
Main Street Castleisland on the Covid-19 Lock-down style St. Patrick’s Day 17-3-2020. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Last night’s state of the nation address by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin on the Covid-19 situation and the elongation of the current lock-down has already knocked many great social events off the 2021 calendar for sure. 

Taoiseach Martin may have officially answered a thousand questions in the course of his statement – but we had most of those answers off by heart by now anyway.

The first stand-out events to go, and for the second year in succession, are the St. Patrick’s Day parades throughout the country – and that’s only for starters.

Drive-In-Bingo Gone

Castleisland’s successful run of ‘Drive-in-Bingo’ sessions was to be continued on a date around St. Patrick’s Day.

That, and its charity spin-off, has also been announced as a casualty of the pandemic. I got the latest would it / wouldn’t it ? call only yesterday morning.

Castleisland Races and its associated events like the Humphrey Murphy 10 and 5K road race – one of the big events of the year here have also been pulled from the list for 2021.

No Flags, No Bunting

And, further due to the grinding restrictions, the parade organisers who brave the cold, biting winds of early March, Sunday mornings to decorate the town in our national colours have decided against doing so this year for the sake of safety.

Now, there’s a vague rumour that a cavalcade of cars will drive through the town at the traditional parade ‘off-time’ of 1pm – a kind of Cavalcade of National Celebration.

It is thought that this will consist of a lap of the town with flag bedecked cars – with nobody stepping outside their vehicle and then returning home immediately afterwards.

Banish the Eeriness

Though it is something that may not meet with official approval, it would banish the eeriness which seemed to envelop the town last year – in spite of the flags and bunting and the breeze doing what they always did regardless.

This kind of show of support for St. Patrick on his day was a feature of other localities around the country in 2020 and is potentially harmless in its tentatively proposed execution. 

There is nothing stopping people from hanging flags or draping bunting from their houses / flats in honour of the great day.

There was a lovely suggestion doing the rounds in the dawn of last year’s realisation that the parade was to be a victim of this gathering storm.

Prone to Art Attacks

Avril Geaney from Cordal suggested that children and people prone to art attacks would draw or paint on the green theme and place the pieces in suitable locations along the street on St. Patrick’s Day.

I know Eileen McGaley took up her brush and the challenge and ably represented Church Street last year.

There are still some few weeks left to do something like this before St. Patrick’s Day – and Easter is also sliding towards us on the first weekend in April, and longer evenings and daffodils and buttercups and butterflies and fine weather……

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