THE clouds parted and the hot sun spring shone through as double act Ciaran Dunne and Willie Murphy welcomed the crowds to Portarlington for this year’s festivities.
The parade was lead by members of the Reserve Defence Forces with Lt Brian Thompson from Portarlington carrying the colours. They were closely followed by the St Patrick’s Day banner, designed and made by Chairperson of the parade committee, Margaret Guijt Lalor. The banner was carried by members of the newly formed Kestrel Basketball Club.
This year’s parade included three bands – the St Patrick’s Boys National School band, lead by principal Pat Galvin, who had earlier performed in the Monasterevin parade. The Tullamore Town Band and The Presentation Convent Band also participated.
The local fire service had their engines looking rosy red for the parade and the army from the Curragh also drove their tanks through the town. The Jennifer McDonald School of Irish Dancing displayed their dancing skills in front of the reviewing stand. Members of the Kestrel Basketball and Elaine Hearty’s showstoppers also wowed the local dignatries.
All the local sports clubs were well represented in the parade, but the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the special Olympics athletes, who were also joined by Teresa Maguire who will be heading to the world games in Greece, later this year.
There were plenty of festivities for the crowds to enjoy in the Square and they continued long into the afternoon.
The local Comhaltas group got the hundreds of people who had turned out for the parade into festive mood with a few tunes before the parade got underway. While buskers played along Main street, the winner played again after the parade.
The winner of the best shop window display for 2011 was Marie corcoran’s Community Care shop.
On the reviewing stand this year were, retired fire chief, Paddy Dowling; Bob Gleeson from Comhaltas Ceolteoiri Eireann, Garda Superintendent Philip Lyons, local councillors Eddie Fitzpatrick, Paul Mitchell, Tom Mulhall and Ray Cribbin. Along with local clergy, Fr Tom Byrne; Parish Priest Fr Dooley and Rev Lesley Stevenson.