Gort will play host to a WB Yeats-themed parade this weekend as part of a week of festivities to mark St Patrick’s Day.
The parade, which will take place in the town on Sunday, will feature local community groups, businesses, schools, and sporting organisations.
Among the commercial groups taking part are Gort Credit Union, The Gallery Cafe, Colm Farrell auctioneers with a model of Thoor Ballylee and cottage, The Lady Gregory Hotel, and Burren Nature Sanctuary Kinvara promoting its Good Friday Chicken Run fundraiser.
Pupils of Kiltartan National School will depict ‘Nine and Fifty Swans’ while two pupils from Peterswell National School with parade as ‘Me & Nu’.
A group from the Kiltartan area will parade as Major Robert Gregory and ‘Kiltartan’s poor’.
Voluntary organisations taking part in the parade include Gort Lions Club, Gort Library, Coole Music, Burren Lowlands, South Galway Athletic Club, Busy Bees Crèche, No Name Club, and the local active retirement group.
The Wild Swan Theatre Company will depict famous literary characters from The Abbey Theatre. The Swan Visual Arts Project and Orchard Centre supported by Burren Lowlands and Galway Rural Development will parade with their four swans under the direction of Shona McGillivray of The Art Box.
Among the sporting groups will be Gort Community School basketball team, recent winners of the All Ireland and League competitions, the local rugby club, and the Gort hurlers have been invited to bring the County Cup. A Limerick group will cycle on their high nellies, and there will also be vintage cars and tractors participating.
The parade will start with the blessing of the shamrock immediately after 12 noon Mass and its distribution to an Army colour party of 1st Battalion, Renmore Barracks, who will lead the parade. Joint grand marshals, Colm Farrell as WB Yeats and Ellen Keane as Lady Gregory, will travel in a horse-drawn carriage.
Marching bands taking part include St Patrick’s Pipe Band, Tulla, and St Ita’s National School Band, Loughrea.
There will be prizes available in various categories, including special prizes for best dressed male and female spectators, who are asked to dress in costume from the early 1900s and assemble beside the bandstand immediately after the parade. There will also be a prize for the best shop window display.
Music after the parade will be provided by Tamlin and Gaillimh Theas Comhaltas, with Gort Set Dancers also performing.
There will be an exhibition of threshing and vintage vehicles on The Square, and a tug-o-war will take place in the Canon Quinn Park at 3pm.
Gardai will have traffic diversions in place around the town to facilitate the parade, and participants are asked not to throw sweets or other objects in the interest of safety.
The week’s festivities continue on Friday with open mic for teenagers in the Town Hall at 7.30pm, and on Saturday with a puppet show in the library at 12 noon. There will be storytelling for adults with Eddie Lenihan in the ICA Hall, Boland’s Lane, at 3.30pm.