Inishowen gears up for St. Patrick’s Day

Derry girls Ellen Fisher, Niamh McAnee, Megan McAnee, Ciara Hegarty and Robyn Bradley at the Buncrana St. Patrick's Day parade. (1803C58)
Derry girls Ellen Fisher, Niamh McAnee, Megan McAnee, Ciara Hegarty and Robyn Bradley at the Buncrana St. Patrick's Day parade. (1803C58)

The people of Inishowen are gearing up for one of the brightest and biggest St Patrick’s Day to date - despite the weather.

With there being reports of the snow, rain, hail and wind the St Patrick’s Day committee are hoping the Child of Prague will help them where as the group in Buncrana are hoping they can use St Patrick’s Day aas an opportunity to promote the town.

Buncrana town councillor and St Patrick’s Day committee member, Nicholas Crossan, reckons the group has its work cut out to top last year’s success.

Cllr Crossan sees the day as their chance to bring in hundreds of tourists in to the town.

“It’s getting bigger and better every year. It has to be singularly the best business day in Buncrana in the year. The sweetie shops, restaurants and bars are all jam packed.

“And I always say, it’s the first day of the New Year where a family can get out together. The streets are absolutely blocked up and it is a very family friendly day.”

In Moville the committee are keen to emphasise everyone is welcome to take part in the parade. Speaking to the ‘Journal’ one of the organisers Eammon McLaughlin says all you have to do is turn up on the day at the assembly points and join the parade.

However nowadays the traditional St Patrick’s Day parade has developed into a festival in it’s own right. Starting with a Grand Variety Concert in Caiseal Mara Hotel tonight and ending with a showing of a film on Saturday, the committee have catered for everyone.

“We now have a live band, Gael Force 10 playing in the square before and after the parade for the parents and adults and we will cordon off the square for a bouncing castle for the kids. This is a family occasion and we just want to have everyone happy and entertained.”

Both committees work very closely with the Gardai in the run up to the parades and throughout the day as well.

Inspector David Kelly from Buncrana Gardai Station has a policing plan in place throughout Inishowen to ensure the day passes with very little trouble.

“We work with the local organisations and on the day we would work closely with their marshals policing the route an streets. Of course there is an element of drink involved in the day, but at the end of the day most of people who attend the parades are there to enjoy the day. It is a family orientated event.”

Though the Gardai have a plan in place, there will be a highly visible presence throughout the peninsula.

“We will be patrolling the area on foot, but it’s very difficult to judge. Every day is different, and especially with the economic climate at the minute, you don’t know what to expect. We just analysis each event year to year and act appropriately on that.”