by Eamonn Wynne of The Nationalist. (11/02/2010)

Alice Leahy, the founder of the homeless agency Trust, will be the Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Clonmel.

The Fethard woman will lead the parade through the town on Wednesday, March 17th, and will also be the guest speaker at the St. Patrick’s dinner at Hotel Minella the previous night, Tuesday, 16th.

A substantial donation will be made from the event to Trust, the homeless agency founded by Alice Leahy, a former Tipperary Person of the Year who for the past quarter century has been a friend to the homeless in Dublin.

The parade will leave Irishtown at 3.30 and the organisers are hopeful that it will be a bigger and more colourful occasion than previous years, while everyone will also be keeping their fingers crossed for a repeat of the fine sunny weather of last year’s celebration. Almost 20 floats have already been confirmed, including one from the Irish Wheelchair Association, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Music will be provided by Banna Chluain Meala and the Dr. Diarmuid O’Hurley Pipe Band from Cashel.

There will be other attractions, organised in conjunction with the Borough Council and Chamber of Commerce, to keep the crowds in the town centre entertained before and after the parade. These include a food fair in Mitchel Street from 12 noon to 4pm and a display of crafts at the Main Guard. And there will be musical entertainment on the reviewing stand outside the Town Hall in Parnell Street from 2 o’clock onwards.

This year the St. Patrick’s Well Committee is putting the focus on Ss Peter and Paul’s parish, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary. With that in mind the traditional mini parade on St.Patrick’s morning will proceed to 12.30 Mass at Ss Peter and Paul’s instead of noon Mass at St. Mary’s.

The Papal and national Flags will be raised as usual at St. Patrick’s Well at 8 o’clock on St. Patrick’s morning and a jug of water will be brought from the Well for the celebration of the Mass to commemorate the continuation of the Christian tradition in the town for 1,500 years.

The festivities will also include a historical lecture at the Town Hall on Monday night, 15th March on the history of Ss Peter and Paul’s.

Anyone who is looking for further information or any organisation or group that wishes to enter a float in the parade should contact P.J.Long of the St. Patrick’s Well Society on 052-6121432.