St. Patrick’s Day Crowds Up There with the Best of Them

A family tradition: Des Martin in the role of St. Patrick with his daughter Kate and her friend Cáit Murphy really settling into their parade duties as they lead the Cullen Pipe and Drum Band in Castleisland on Sunday. Des’ late father Joe Martin donned the garb and carried the crozier for many years in the parade. ©Photograph: John Reidy

A general consensus took on a definable form as soon as the crowds began to gather on St. Patrick’s Day in Castleisland and it hardened into the indisputable fact that we were witnessing one of the biggest days for years and one of the great days for the town.

Yes and No voters mixed with the undecided and made it yet another victory for volunteerism, local initiative and self help.

I don’t know how you’d quantify the crowds of one year’s parade against another but this year, with its glorious parade time weather, is certainly up there with the best of them.

Us and Our Neighbours

It’s all thanks to the people who went to the bother of organising everything and to the people from the locality and neighbouring villages who made the effort to be here on the great day.

It all came together so well from the moment, a couple of hours before the off time of 1:30pm., when the rain stopped and the clouds parted and we got the first glimpse of the day of the blue sky that was to stay with us for when it mattered.

It played a major role in how people enjoyed of one of the most important days in Ireland. A day on which we celebrate and showcase and cut loose on the world with all we have to be proud of.

Back to Basics

It will be back to basics now for the volunteers as the flags and bunting are taken down, folded, dried and stored away until this time next year.

I met a couple of the volunteers later on St. Patrick’s Night and were delighted with how the day went and the levels of support from fellow volunteers.

They will call, they said, because of the magnitude of the undertaking now, for an early summer-time meeting to ascertain the levels of support for the parade and all it involves in the years ahead.

Community Based Efforts

They’ll want to thank, they said, the people who took to the streets and those who stood on the footpaths and the businesses who backed them in their efforts to make the day a memorable one for the community and for generations to come.

Just as importantly, they’ll want, they said, to look at the people who didn’t support them in those selfless community based efforts.

They will, they said, on reflection, issue a statement in which those who did and those who didn’t will be either blessed or blasted.

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