National pride to the fore as local community prepares to embrace Croí na hÉireann Festival

An air of vibrant national pride is certain to pervade within the heart of the local community as the five day Croí na hÉireann Festival takes place in Athlone next week, commencing on Thursday, March 14.

Culminating in the showpiece event, the St Patrick’s Day parade, on Sunday, March 18, at 2pm, the five day festival will certainly energise the spirits and will aim to build upon the success of the 2023 occasion which was positively received within the local community.

A large attendance is expected to grace the streets of Athlone as the parade, to be fronted by Grand Marshall, Gerry Johnson, chairman of the Athlone Tidy Towns committee, progresses from west to east starting its journey at Athlone Extrusions, but locals are expected to savour an array of events which have been organised by the diligent Croi na hÉireann Festival committee who have been earnestly preparing for this occasion.

Cultural and sporting themes are a prominent feature of the five day Croi na hÉireann Festival schedule, notable events including a futsal tournament to take place in the John McCormack Hall on TUS Athlone Campus on Thursday, March 14 (6pm-10pm ), a performance from Ganley’s School of Irish Dancing at Athlone Towncentre on Friday, March 15 (6.30pm-7.30pm ), water based activities along the River Shannon on Saturday, March 16 (from 12pm ) and a 5km fun run starting from Athlone Regional Sports Centre on St Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17 (10am ).

Striving to be all inclusive in their approach to the St Patrick’s Day Parade, the Festival committee has decided that a section of the showpiece occasion from John Broderick Street (Dunnes Stores to Burgess Park ) will be designated a sensory sensitive section where all participants will be encouraged to march in silence in the hope that this will provide visual enjoyment for those who are uncomfortable with audio distraction.

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In his role as Croi na hÉireann Festival treasure, Cllr Frankie Keena, has encouraged the Athlone and wider Midlands community to embrace the five day occasion laden with activities certain to appeal to all family members.

“The Athlone Croi na hEireann festival committee has been extremely busy over the last number of months in putting together a very comprehensive programme of events for the forthcoming five day event starting on Thursday, March 14 and culminating on bank holiday Monday, March 18.

“In further preparation for the festival a large number of volunteers took to the main thoroughfares of our town to erect bunting and help create an atmosphere for all as we celebrate our national feast day.

“We are so grateful to all the fantastic community and sporting organisations for contacting us, looking to participate in the festival and the grand finale parade. The interest in this year’s festival and parade is extremely high which is so heartening,” Cllr. Keena said.

In accepting the honour of parade Grand Marshal, Gerry Johnson, chairperson of Athlone Tidy Towns committee stated that it was a great privilege to be honoured in such a capacity.

“Our Tidy Towns committee represents the wider members of our community, who are passionate in looking after our environment. So, as chairperson, I would like to think that we have being thanked for all our voluntary efforts over the last 20 years and more to make sure that Athlone is a better town in which to visit and reside.

“On a personal level, I look forward to my role as Grand Marshal for this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade and would encourage as many organisations to participate in this extremely well organised annual event,” Mr Johnson remarked.

With additional events to be added to an already enticing schedule, further information will be detailed on www.athlonecroinaheireann.ie and the Facebook page @patricksdayathlone.

 

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