ST PATRICK’S DAY PARADE  with thanks to Helen Castle for pictures and narrative

Inclement weather conditions and very low temperatures did not deter large crowds turning out to line both sides of the route for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Beginning its fourth decade of this event held on our National Feast Day, the interest in the parade shows no signs of abating.  The parade started at the Land League gates and came up through the village to Ballykealy Lane. There was a marvellous display of both colourful and imaginative floats.  The parade took about thirty minutes to pass the reviewing stand which was situated in the centre of the village. This year’s dignitaries on the platform were Fr Jim O’Connell, Councillor John Murphy and Councillor Charlie Murphy completed the trio.  MC on the day was ably conducted by Marty Barry.  As usual St Patrick was at the helm of the parade.  (AKA John Kelly).

Prizewinners for this year’s parade included: Best Walking Group – Ballon Childcare Facility, Most Original – Tullow Men’s Shed, Most Topical – Burren Rangers, Best Commercial – Alfie Byrne Agri Contractor, Best Community Group – Ballon Rathoe Athletic Club, Most Amusing – Driverless car – Eamon Brennan, Best Overall Winner – Richmond Wrought Iron Works.

There was a vast selection of vintage cars and tractors together with two Honda 50’s to see as well as an array of modern machinery.  Tullow Fire Brigade also made their annual appearance at the parade.  This year’s float was provided by Pender’s Garage Bunclody and the music by Marty Barry. The organising Committee would like to express their gratitude to the sponsors without whom it would be impossible to hold a parade.

The Sponsors are: Nolan’s Spar Ballon, Centra Ballon, Michael McAssey, Kavanagh’s Pub, Joe Doyle’s Pub, Jimmy’s Takeaway and Valerie and Jimmy O’Toole. It was a great evening’s entertainment and an effort that the community should be very proud of.