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Who's leading your St Patrick's Day parade this year?

A footballer, a hurler, a politician and a ringmistress… it’s not the start to a bad joke, it’s a list of the people chosen as parade grand marshals around the country.

James Hemste isn't grand marshal this year but maybe he should be... he has participated in over 36 St Patrick's Day parades in Dublin.
James Hemste isn't grand marshal this year but maybe he should be... he has participated in over 36 St Patrick's Day parades in Dublin.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

SO WE KNOW that Dublin has John Giles for its St Patrick’s Day parade. Sadly, we also know John can’t be everywhere so TheJournal.ie has been checking out who is grand marshal at other parades around the country this year.

Many other counties have decided to follow suit behind Dublin by selecting their own local sporting heroes as the guest of honour.

Grand marshal at this year’s Kilkenny Festival will be captain of the Kilkenny Hurling Team, Brian Hogan, who will be followed down the parade route by over 40 clubs from around the county.

Waterford City is another county to chose someone good with a hurley, recently retired Waterford hurler, Ken McGrath.

Other counties have veered towards adorning their counties academia with the honour, with Limerick, the largest of the regional parades, announcing that the President of the University of Limerick (UL) Ed Walsh will lead the parade this year. He was chosen in commemoration of UL’s 40th anniversary this year.

Another large regional parade in Bray, Co Wicklow has decided to decorate local author Emma Hannigan with the role.  Emma has fought cancer a number times and while in treatment she began writing a diary of her ordeal. She has since penned four books, Designer Genes, Miss Conceived, Talk to the Headscarf and The Pink Ladies Club.

Longford is to commend a local hero also in Noel McGeeney, Chairperson of the Longford Royal Canal Amenity Group. He is a well known name in the county having worked tirelessly on the development of  the Longford Spur on the Royal Canal.

The Grand Marshal of the Cobh parade is St Patrick. Well actually it is local singer celebrity Joe Devlin, dressed up as St Patrick, who reprises his role in the parade for the fourth year running.

Marion Fossett, ringmistress of Fossett’s Circus and one third of Ireland’s 1981 Eurovision contenders Sheeba, will be cracking the whip as this year’s Clane festival in Co Kildare. Mary Dunne, one of the festival’s organisers, said that Fossett’s Circus are taking part in the parade and are a great addition to their Tir Na Og themed festival.

Maynooth is not having a grand marshal this year, but will have Labour’s Emmet Stagg TD as this year’s guest speaker on the reviewing stand.

Galway has gone for a competition format this year, not so much X Factor, more Person of the Year.  They are looking for a teenager, aged between 14 -18 years who has accomplished something significant or extraordinary for themselves or others to lead the Parade on 17 March in Galway city. Teenager of the Year will be selected by a judging committee and a call has been put out to the people of Galway to have their say.

*To see any of the local festival websites and plan your bank holiday weekend, click on the links in the text.

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