Hard working St Patrick's Day Parade committees across the county are putting the finishing touches to preparations for Sunday's festivities.
In Tullamore the parade gets underway at 11.30am with entertainment at the Review Stand from 11am provided by Tullamore Comhaltas and the Durrow Set Dancers. The Grand Marshall for this year is local man John Flanagan in recognition of his huge contribution to Tullamore and Offaly over many years, while the colour party will be lead by local man, Commandant Pat Tobin.
The assembly point for community groups s the car park of the Bridge Centre and groups are asked to be there by 11am at the latest. Please co-operate with stewards. Assembly for businesses is at Kilcruttin, opposite the Railway Station.
There will be free face painting from 10.30am at the rear entrance to the Bridge Centre, beside the cinema. There will be a special area reserved for the elderly and wheelchair users where they can watch the parade in comfort. Ask us on the day or in advance you can contact the parade secretary, Sean O'Brien, at 0863892854.
The St Patrick's Day Parade in Edenderry starts at 2.30pm and the Grand Marshall this year is John Delamere.
Floats taking part in the parade are asked under no circumstances are they to throw or fire any objects in to the spectators.
A number of roads will be closed and it will be done in three phases. Phase 1 of the road closure will see JKL Street being closed from the Harbour roundabout to Foy's roundabout at 12.30pm. Phase 2 of the road closure will commence at 1pm. A traffic light system will be in operation at Clonmullen. Phase 3 will commence at 2pm. The full diversion route will then be activated and the town will then be in lock down mode. It is crucial that all motorists obey the diversions.
Jockey Pat Smollen will lead the St Patrick's Day Parade in Rhode. The parade will get underway at 10am from the power station road up to the village. Organisers are predicting that it will be the village's best parade yet with over 30 floats and organisations taking part. There will be prizes for the best float and best fancy dress.
The parade in Banagher starts at 3pm, while there will be music on the street from 2.30pm. The theme for this year's parade is the 1980s. Businessman Simon Lyons in the Grand Marshal and will be dressed as Marty McFly from the Back to the Future films. After the parade has finished there will be a children's party in the Boxing Club where there will be facepainting, music and goodies.
The parade in Clara gets underway from the Charlestown Bridge at 12.30pm. At 11.15 am there will be a concert in The Square featuring performances from local musical talents including Glor Tire contestant Noreen Rabbette.
This year the parade will be opened by Mrs. Rose Dolan, the wife of the late Paddy Dolan, former Lord Mayor of Clara, Mrs. Elizabeth Fleming daughter of the the late Paddy Fitzpatrick, also a former Lord Mayor of Clara & last, but by no means least Mr. Aidan Duffin, of Clara Scouts who celebrate fifty years of Scouting in Clara. There will be tributes to Paddy Dolan R.I.P., Paddy Fitzpatrick R.I.P. and Davy Kavanagh R.I.P.
Parade Organiser, Bertie McMahon would like to wish all participants, viewers and sponsors a Happy St Patrick's Day and give special thanks to all who gave to the collections at the Church gates in Clara & Tubber. Bertie, also remembers his dear friends who have sadly passed in the last year Jimmy Quinlin & Jimmy Duffy, R.I.P.