The official launch of the St. Patrick’s weekend festivities In Athlone took place in the surrounds of the Shamrock Lodge Hotel.
With the parade to take place on Saturday, March 16, the weekend is laden with family events and is sure to bring large numbers from the Midlands region into Athlone as the nation celebrates its feast day.
The highlight of the St. Patrick’s Day weekend activities is a Guinness Book of Records world record attempt and the Athlone public is being encourage to congregate en masse suitably clothed in patron saint’s garb in Burgess Park at 2pm, as the committee aspire to have as many St. Patrick’s ‘look-a-likes’ in the one place at the same time.
A feeling of positivity exuded at the launch night as the evening included the handing over of the crosier from last year’s parade marshall, Heather Dickson from Athlone Special Olympics (represented by Tara Phelan ), to Gerard Tiernan of Pieta House, while Junior Marshall, Daniel Berry, who recently won the Westmeath Garda Youth Award, accepted his crosier from Scott Lowe.
St. Mary’s Karate Club displayed some very impressive demonstrations and aim to continue in a similar vein when they participate in the parade.
Castledaly native and Mindreader, Oisin Foley entertained with excerpts from his repertoire, while music during the occasion was provided by the versatile PJ Shanagher.
An extensive weekend of family laden events has been announced with the parade commencing on Saturday, March 16 at 12.30pm in Connaught Street. From this starting point, the route will continue along O’Connell Street, Bastion Street, High Street, Main Street, Castle Street, Custume Bridge, Custume Place, Church Street, Dublin Gate Street, Sean Costello Street, turning right at John Broderick Street before finishing at Burgess Park.
Roads will close at approximately 12.15pm and will be inaccessible to traffic momentarily as the parade passes through each street, with a maximum closure of just two hours.
Prior to the parade concluding at Burgess Park, the public space will be the venue for a plethora of activities to include an emergency services meet and greet, bouncy castles, magic acts, pet farms, a vintage display and a medieval performance.
Meanwhile, in the civic square from 11am-12.30pm, a BMX display for biking enthusiasts and a performance by the Knockcroghery Ukulele Collective will form the entertainment in the centre of the town.
The St. Patrick’s weekend experience continues from noon on Sunday, March 17, starting with a fun family walk along the Old Rail Trail, strating from the White Gates and finishing at Garrycastle.
Garrycastle is the central point for the remainder of the days activities with a teddy bears picnic at 1pm with feast day festivities culminating with an American football contest between the Westmeath Minotaurs and their Galway counterparts.
Activity laden this St. Patrick’s weekend in Athlone most definitely promises to be!