On parade in Portlaoise. Photo: Alf Harvey
St Patrick's Day in the Laois capital town will be filled with crowds, music and stalls this year, but one big event will be missing, a parade.
Portlaoise is getting a two day daytime festival along Main Street instead to mark the first two day bank holidays for St Patrick.
It will have a strong local element, supporting Laois musicians and small businesses who were hard hit in the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However for a third year there will be no traditional street parade.
Michael Kavanagh, main organiser of the festival spoke to the Leinster Express.
"Yes we have no parade this year. There wasn't time to organise it after the Covid restrictions lifted. For a town the size of Portlaoise it takes a few months to put it all together. As we haven't had it in a few years so we decided to go with a two day festival instead," Michael said.
"I organise the town's Christmas Market so it was decided to do something similar, but with a lot of art and music, circus acts and food stalls, keeping it local and community based. Small businesses and local artists were hugely affected by the pandemic so this is a way for us all to pull together and celebrate a return towards normal life," he said.
"We just hope for good weather now, and the parade will return next year," Michael said, thanking Laois County Council for their support.
The festival runs from 2pm to 6pm on March 17 and 18.
It will include Portlaoise rockers The Valves, playing in Market Square on St Patrick's Day, The AJs who recorded a video in Kavanagh's bar this week for their new song about St Patrick's Day, and young up-and-coming Portarlington band Dopamine.
A fundraiser will be held March 10 Kavanaghs Pub-Portlaoise.
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