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Roscrea all set for 41st St Patrick's Day parade

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019 1:20pm
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 Roscrea all set for 41st St Patrick's Day parade
 Roscrea all set for 41st St Patrick's Day parade

The parade committee are now finalising plans for their 41st successive parade, which takes place this Sunday, March 17th, at 3.30pm.

As with organising any event, the parade can only be as good as the community spirit that’s behind it. The committee would like to thank all community groups and businesses so far who have filled in an application for float entry and would like to give a final call out to anyone still considering entering. While there is no fee for any float entry this year, the committee would appreciate a voluntary donation, no matter how small, from business floats. Although floats are welcome to turn up on the day at the assembly point for the parade, the organisers request that if possible floats would give details beforehand to Parade Secretary Marie (086 0755680) to facilitate the parade narrative, and thus give the float and its organisers due exposure and publicity.

To build momentum on the lead-up to the parade, the committee have organised traditional Irish music and songs to be played through speakers on Main Street from Friday. Roscrea Heritage Society have also kindly offered to sponsor cash prizes for the Best Dressed Window competition. They are encouraging all businesses to root out any items they may have that depict Roscrea’s heritage, (cultural, manmade or otherwise).  These items can be anything from photographs, letters, clothes, homewares, etc; the list is endless!

The prizes for best dressed window are as follows; €100 best overall, €50 second place and €50 for third place. Judging will take place on Friday, March 15th, so there is still plenty of time for businesses and voluntary groups to get involved and showcase the community spirit in our town.

The annual blessing of the shamrock will take place this year on Saturday, March 16th, in Phelan's Market House, Main St, at 8pm. This will be followed by a presentation to the winners of the best dressed window and best schools project.

The night will conclude with music performed by members of Roscrea Comhaltas as light refreshments are served. The committee would like to extend an open invitation to all.

On St Patrick's Day, the focus of activity will be the Square where the Review Stand will be located at the junction of Castle Street and Main Street. Roscrea Comhaltas will entertain the crowd from 2 - 3pm with music and song. Courtesy of the Parade Committee, there will be face painting outside Shaw’s and Euro Giant from 2.30 – 4.30pm. The parade will commence on the old Dublin road at 3.30pm sharp and will continue down through Church Street, up Castle Street and pass the Review Stand in the Square on Main Street.

Make sure to keep an eye out for this year’s parade mascots, Larry the Leprechaun, Ursula the Unicorn and Marge Simpson, who will be on hand to give out balloons, flags and treats free of charge, courtesy of the organising committee. The OPW have kindly offered three family heritage cards again this year. A free raffle will take place on St Patrick’s Day and tickets can be got outside Shaw’s from 2.30pm onwards. Family heritage cards are valued at €90 and allow two adults and up to five children access to all OPW heritage sites in Ireland, valid for one year from first date of use.

If you haven’t already, check out our Facebook Page @St Patricks Day Parade Roscrea 2019 to be kept up to date with parade details, and you can also enter our Facebook competition to win a family heritage card.

Guest of honour will be Mr Steve Crofton. Steve came to Roscrea 53 years ago as a young History and Geography teacher to the then town’s CBS to teach, and he was to become instrumental in the formation of many sons of Roscrea and its surrounding areas.  In doing so, he himself became a treasured son of Roscrea as he not only helped form its sons but was to help form the community and social fabric of the town through the selfless giving of himself to many organisations and initiatives in Roscrea for the benefit and growth of the town and its community.

Steve was a formidable tennis and badminton player, who also contributed generously of his time to ensuring the children of Roscrea could play tennis. Steve was one of the founders of what has now become a successful and vibrant Roscrea Tennis Club. He and others, with the assistance of the nuns of the Sacred Heart, ensured that supervised tennis was available for the town’s youth for many a long summer in Roscrea and which, as ‘Parkmore’ Tennis Club, became the precursor of Roscrea Tennis Club.

Mr Crofton is also synonymous with golf in Roscrea. While he is again Club Secretary, he has held many positions in the administration of the club over the years. Steve was a founder member of Roscrea Community & Tourism Leisure Centre Co-operative Ltd (RCTLC), whose dream, now brought to fruition, was to create a swimming pool and leisure centre for Roscrea. He was also RCTLC’s first Treasurer.  

Twenty-four years ago Steve was one of the founders of Roscrea Community Development Council (RCDC), was a former Chairman and is now again Secretary of RCDC. For many years, Steve had been Chairperson of the St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, thus ensuring the continuation of the town’s parade on the national feast day, a parade founded by the then Roscrea Junior Chamber in 1979 and now this year, 2019, is celebrating its 41st parade, which in no small way is due to the perseverance and hard work over the years of Steve Crofton and others.

Steve has also been a great supporter of his Parish of Roscrea, having been a member of the Parish’s Pastoral Council and a Church reader and collector for a long number of years. For the last number of years, he has directed and chaired the co-ordinating and Supervisory Committee of the Community CE Scheme, which has down the years given much work experience to many in Roscrea and in doing so has carried out very much community work for many of the town’s organisations and institutions, who could not have carried out their community work without the support of the CE Scheme.

Steve Crofton is indeed a true and treasured son of Roscrea. He will address the pre-parade reception in Michael Phelan’s, Market House, this Saturday night and will review the parade on Sunday.  However, don’t be surprised if Steve insists on doing so from his usual position of the front of the post office, from where he monitors and ensures the smooth flow of the parade past the Review Stand!  

To request an application form for float entry or to enquire about helping out in any way, please contact Parade Secretary Marie Tooher on 086 0755680.

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