THE oldest Patrick in County Clare has been tracked down to fulfil an important duty. He is 97-year-old Patrick ‘Pakie’ Wall from Ballydineen, Kilmihil, and he has been named the grand marshall of this year’s Ennis St Patrick’s Day Parade.
Patrick was selected to be grand marshall following a nomination process through Clare County Council for the oldest Patrick in Clare to join Mayor of Ennis, Pat Daly in leading the parade in a horse-drawn carriage, which will be followed by approximately 50 groups representing the many aspects of life in the county.
More than 10,000 people are expected to line the streets of the county capital on March 17 for the annual event. The theme of this year’s parade is Clare County of Culture, in recognition of the celebration and promotion of Clare as a County of Culture in the lead-up to the hosting of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis this August.
Patrick’s daughter, Carmel Bohannon, described her father’s reaction to having heard Clare County Council’s request for nominations in relation to the oldest residing ‘Patrick’ in Clare.
“He mentioned, jokingly, ‘sure that must nearly be me’, hence my decision to nominate him,” Carmel stated.
Born on February 25, 1919, Patrick is a retired farmer from Ballydineen, located three miles from the village of Kilmihil.
“Dad has always enjoyed good health and attributes that to plenty of fresh air and hard work,” said Carmel. “He is a very popular man in the locality and always made himself available to lend a helping hand to his neighbours and friends down through the years. This is a great honour for him and the wider family.”
This year’s Ennis St Patrick’s Day Parade will commence at 11am from Áras Contae an Chláir, before proceeding via New Road, Newbridge Road, Club Bridge, Abbey Street, O’Connell Square and O’Connell Street, with walkers finishing in the grounds of the Holy Family School on Station Road.
Clare County Council is seeking to make the 2016 Ennis St Patrick’s Day Parade a county-wide affair, with artistic, cultural and sporting groups, together with schools, scouts and a range of community groups from all over Clare, taking part.
Mayor of Ennis, Pat Daly said, “I look forward to joining Patrick in greeting the thousands of spectators expected to turn out along the parade route.”
Two designated viewing areas are being made available again this year to enhance the spectators’ experience. There will be a large designated viewing area along Newbridge Road, between Club Bridge and Steele’s Terrace, which will afford perfect views of the parade and participants with the river and Club Bridge in the background. The location is in close proximity to the stage at Steele’s Terrace, where live traditional music will be performed from 10am.
The designated disabled parking area is located at Ennis Courthouse, Lifford Road. A designated disabled viewing area will also be established in O’Connell Square for the duration of the parade. Spaces will be limited, so spectators wishing to avail of this facility should arrive early. Disabled parking will also be available nearby in the council’s car park at Friar’s Walk, Ennis.