Joe and Helen Reilly will open this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Clara, which will include around 80 floats.

Clara couple to open town’s St Patrick's Day parade

Clara couple Joe and Helen Reilly will this year become the first husband and wife to jointly open the St Patrick's Day parade in the town.

With the national holiday now just a fortnight away, Clara parade organiser Bertie McMahon is continuing to make preparations for an event that's set to feature around 80 floats in total.

It's expected that the RTE cameras will be in Clara for this year's parade. The festivities will commence at 11.30am with a concert in the square that will include music from renowned singers Alex Roe and Teresa O'Hara, as well as ceili music by the James Kinsella Ceili Band.

Joe and Helen Reilly, of the Kilbride Road, Clara, were chosen to open the parade in recognition of their contribution to the local community over the years.

The national anthem on the day will be performed by Tommy Stones, a Clara native living in Ballycumber, who has played music with the Marinos, Dave Lawlor and other groups.

Clara man will Tommy Stones will sing the national anthem on the day.

Clara legend Paddy Bracken, and his son Lloyd, will be grand marshals of this year's parade.

The Clara Ladies Gaelic Football Club will be honoured in a special way at this year's parade. The club is encouraging all of its members to break out its colours of black, white, and pink and to take part in the parade.

Clara intermediate football captains Triona McDonald and Maria Kelly. The Clara Ladies Gaelic Football Club will be honoured at this year’s parade.

Another novel aspect of the celebration this year is a 'Ladies Power Walk' that will take place immediately after the parade from the reviewing stand.

Entry forms for the power walk can be obtained from Bertie McMahon (086 1638088) and there will be prizes for the first place and second place finishers.

Bertie wished to thank the parade's sponsors, all who gave to the Clara and Tullamore church gate collections, Bertie's team, Clara and Tullamore Gardai, Celcus Doolan, Oliver O'Connor, Martin O'Connor, Mark Purcell, Kevin Roe, Eddie Thomas, Des Dunne, The Flynns, Andy Cunningham, Buddy Daly, the Clara Community and Family Resource Centre, the Parish Centre, Ricey Scully, and all who helped out in any way.

A week after the parade, a presentation night will be held in Nigel's Pub on Friday, March 24.