Saint Patrick's Day parades in Killarney, Drogheda, Limerick, Longford, Sligo, Cavan, Gorey and Waterford.
Thirty one organisations took part in the the biggest parade that Killarney has seen in recent years. There were vintage cars, floats, scouts, pipe bands and dancers. Muckross House had a special display urging the preservation of our national heritage. The Kerry Mountain Rescue Group demonstrated their equipment and used the occasion to highlight the message that the organisation needs more support. The Irish Wheelchair Association was also represented.
Drogheda also had one of its biggest every parades led by an FCA Colour Party and a local brass band.
Around 1903, the Gaelic League in Limerick launched a campaign to have St Patrick's Day made into a national holiday. Limerick has always been home to one of the biggest parades in the country outside Dublin. The celebrations began with the traditional blessing of the shamrock at Sarsfield Barracks. A delegation from Brittany were in attendance and were highly impressed by the occasion. One local publican even dyed his beer green for the day.
The parade in Longford was led by the army and attended by Post and Telegraphs Minister Albert Reynolds. Taking part were 200 floats, Saint Patrick, Miss Piggy and Prince Charles. Farmers in the parade made it very clear about how they felt about the European Common Market. This was Longford’s seventh annual parade and was rated as the third largest in the country.
There was no holding back the joyous mood of the day.
Sligo’s eleventh consecutive parade was led by local piper Larry O’Dowd. The town’s most successful parade to date included 14 bands, scouting troops and sporting groups. Minister for Agriculture Ray MacSharry was in attendance to review the parade in his hometown joined Mayor Tony McLoughlin. Representatives from Sligo’s twin town in Brittany Crozon also took part. International participants include a group of Nigerian students who are attached to the local Regional Technical College. The post office took the prize for best float which depicted Sligo’s improved telecommunications systems. A crowd of around 2,000 people enjoyed the parade which lasted for around one and a half hours.
The parade in Kingscourt County Cavan was well attended and was organised by the local community council in association with local businesses. The emphasis was placed on highlighting the success of local industry. On the viewing stand were Tom Fitzpatrick TD, Senator Seamus Dolan, and Brian O’Grady County Cavan Development Officer. The local guild of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association had a float demonstrating traditional crafts.
The Queen of Dun A Ree, a local beauty competition, has been attracting the Cavan girls.
The Gorey Parade in County Wexford was led by the FCA and was watched over by Minister for State Lorcan Allen. The parade contained seven bands which included musicians from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. The big attraction at the parade was a restored steam engine. This was Gorey’s second parade and was organised by the Junior Chamber of Commerce.
There were colourful scenes at the Waterford city parade which was reviewed by Minister for State Mr Jackie Fahey who was joined on the platform by the Mayor of Waterford and members of the city council.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 18 March 1981. The reporters are Tom MacSweeney, Conor Fennell, Michael Walsh, Peter McNiff and Michael Ryan.