The Ardee St Patrick’s Day parade took place on Friday afternoon in the town – and there was something for everyone as ever with good crowd, including lots and lots of kids, enjoying the day.
Despite rain threatening to overshadow the day, it largely stayed away for the afternoon – bar a little drizzle – and people came out to line the main streets in Ardee for one of the most popular annual events in the town.
Local TDs Imelda Munster, Fergus O’Dowd and Declan Breathnach were joined by Ardee Municipal District councillors Dolores Minogue, Tom Cunningham, Pearse McGeough and Colm Markey on the viewing stand on Castle Street. They were soon themselves joined by the day’s extra special guest – Grand Marshal Elizabeth Byrne.
Elizabeth is a very well known figure in the town for her work with the Ardee Girl Guides and Order of Malta, both of whom she had dedicated decades of tirless service too. Following Elizabeth up the town at the parade’s start were young members of the Girl Guides and their mentors.
As per usual, Ardee Concert Band lead the parade – making their way way from the Fair Green to south side of the town, led by Fiona Reilly. There were fewer bands on parade in Ardee this year as compared to previous years but there was no shortage in quality.
The Lourdes Brass Band were joined by St Joseph’s Pipe Band and the Holy Cross Accordian Band Atticall from Co. Down who all provide wonderful musical accompaniment.
The youngsters in the crowd got a chance to see the Ardee Fire Service engine move up through the town ahead of a whole host of local sports clubs include Ardee Celtic, Square United, Ardee St Marys Ladies, Hunterstown Rovers, Glyde Rangers juveniles, Ardee Archery Club, Cuchulainn Archers, Ardee Rugby Club and Ardee Cycling Club.
MC Brian Farrelly – in his tenth year in the role – kept the crowd entertained throughout and the man with the microphone wasn’t showing much mercy to the elected representatives on the stand either. Colm Markey and Declan Breathnach were tasked with handing out sweets and treats to the little ones on Castle Street while Sinn Fein’s Imelda Munster and Pearse McGeough were on hug duty at various times.
Even Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd had to put his hand in his pocket after a young spectator managed to make him laugh. “What do you call a three hump camal? Pregnant.”
As ever, there were loads of vintage motors and tractors on view as well as newer models from Mid-Louth Garage and elsewhere while there were a huge number of commercial floats entered into the parade which is always a great source of support for the organising committee.
John Caffrey was arguably the most popular participant – him being the only one who brought some cakes with him! MC Brian decided the cakes were better shared amongst the spectators than the politicians on the stand.
Crazy Castles were awarded the Best Commercial entry gong (below) for their effort on the day while Square United’s parade entry won Best Club. The Best Float prize was given to Showbiz Kidz Stage School.
The girls from Showbiz performed a brilliant, engertic contemporary dance routine for the crowd on Castle Street and they wowed everyone watching – so it really is little surprise they are among the day’s winners.
Well done to all who took part in the #ArdeeStPats parade and a special word goes out to Padraig McKenny, Brendan Faulkner, Fergal Kerr and the rest of the organising committee for their work.
Remember, you can check out all of the photos from the Ardee St Patrick’s Day parade over on our Facebook page or here on ThisIsArdee.ie.