It’s always a most enjoyable day and this year’s St Patrick’s day festivities around Laois will bring a bit of fun and joy to every community in the county.
We’ve compiled the list of what you need to know in the towns and villages dotted around the county over the next couple of days.
THURSDAY, MARCH 16
- Renowned singer Fr Liam Lawton will launch his new mass setting – sung by the combined choirs – in Graiguecullen church at 7.30pm in a mass celebrated by Bishop Denis Nulty
- Pogueology in the Square Bar – This seven-piece Laois tribute band to the Pogues will belt out some of the all time Irish classics Streams of Whiskey, Sally McLennane, Fiesta and Rainy Night in Soho. Supported by Cua from 9am. Entry is €10
- The Laois Heritage Society presents ‘When the blasts of war blows in our ears’ a talk about the Military Men in Leix, 1547-1600 with Dermot Wheeler, PHD NUI Galway. Members are free; non-members are €3. It gets underway at 8pm in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel
FRIDAY, MARCH 17
- The Abbeyleix parade starts at 12.30pm with participants assembling at the Abbey Crescent for a parade through the Main Street.
- The folk in Ballyroan have a similar idea to their neighbours in Spink. They’re having the parade after 9.30am mass. The GAA club, the Vintage Association and the basketball club are all taking part
- The Graiguecullen parade is one of these pre-mass efforts which starts at 11am in the town park and marches to mass for 11.30am.
- The parade will be led by the Killeshin Pipe Band and the Presentation School Band and houses en route are encouraged to make it as colourful a parade as possible.
- In nearby Killeshin, it’s a simlar format to Graigue.
- The parade gathers at the new school car park at 9.20am and parades to mass at 10am.
- The Mountmellick parade takes place at 2pm although there is a full schedule of events from 9am. The flag raising and national anthem is at 2.30pm with the anthem sung by Mountmellick singer Emer Dunne.
- Starting at 9am, students in Mountmellick CS are doing a day-long Ceilithon fundraiser for the Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust.
- A family fun day takes place in the square from 12noon to 7pm.
- The Mountmellick Parade will benefit local groups – Mountmellick YDC, Darkness into Light and Mountmellick Scouts.
- The Mountrath parade is always a lively, vibrant affair and this year’s one should be no different. Starting at 12.30 from the GAA grounds it is led by the Post 27 United Nations veterans.
- There is music and dancing in the square afterwards from Seamus McLoughney, Camross Comhaltas and the Cosy Cafe Choir.
- The parade in Portarlington is one of the later ones in the county, not getting underway until 3.30pm although the fun begins in the Top Square from 2pm with live music, face painting, bouncing castles and a pet farm.
- Portlaoise Athletic Club are organising the very popular Streets of Portlaoise 5KM run once again on St Patrick’s Day. The race gets underway at 11am but registration is in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel from 8.30am. Entry is €15 – or €25 if you want a long-sleeve t-shirt. There is almost €2000 in prize money and a range of age categories. There will also be three juvenille fun runs prior to the main race: U-7 – 10am, U-10 – 10.10am and U-12 – 10.20am. There is an easter egg, medal and bottle of water for all children . Registration for Children’s race is €3.
- Portlaoise parade kicks off at 12.30pm. Starting at County Hall, it goes down James Fintan Lalor avenue and then up Main Street, which is closed off to traffic. A street festival for children – costing €3 – will run until 5pm and includes bouncing castles, face painters etc.
- A duck race on the Triogue River as a Portlaoise Panthers fundraiser takes place at 2pm.
- Irish dancing from the Grainne Buggie and Ricky Lawless schools of dancing on the lower square from 2.15pm
- Portlaoise sports clubs will be giving people a chance to practice their skills in the Dunamaise Arts Centre. There is also a busking competition with a cash prize of €100.
- Lethean is jam packed with local talent this St Patricks Day with three different acts. first up are The Adam & Paul Experience at 3pm. Then at 9pm local DJ James will be in the main bar and finally The Valves will be kicking off at 10pm in The Rock Garden.
- In Kavanagh’s Pub in Portlaoise, the band Transmitter are playing not one but two gigs – at 4pm and 10pm. On Saturday, by the way, Kavanagh’s are also hosting comedian Jason Byrne in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel. Tickets are €25 and the show starts at 8pm.
- In the Square Bar, Fiuntas – David and Mark Vesey who bring together some of the finest traditional musicians in Laois – are performing from 5-8pm. Wotnots are from 9.30pm-ish, we are told!
- The eyes of the nation will be on Rathdowney as they are set to feature on RTE.
- The parade, which will be led by the town’s oldest resident Mrs Finane, starts at 1pm. Refreshments afterwards in the parochial hall.
- Face painting and a kids disco at 3pm followed by a slide show in O’Malley’s Pub at 3.30pm where there will be live music and a raffle for an Angus calf, no less.
- Rosenallis is another of the late parades and gets underway at 3.30pm.
- Organised by the Rosenallis Development Association the theme is ‘Past and Present’. Vehicles start from John’s Grove and walks from the Green School
- Spink GAA club are organising the parade in Spink and it takes place at 10.15am, after 9.30am mass in Knock followed by entertainment and refreshments in Knock Hall
- The parish of Stradbally can lay claim to having three parades in total – one in Stradbally, Vicarstown and Timahoe. The theme of all three will tell the story of the GAA in the parish with dancing, singing and school projects.
- Vicarstown get proceedings underway with what we think is the earliest parade in the county at 9am. Assemble at 9am at the canal bridge and parade to mass.
- Timahoe is at 10am and Stradbally at 11am. All will have enough tea and buns to feed an army afterwards