St Patrick’s Day Parade 2018 is launched

The launch of the 2018 St Patrick’s Day Parade was held in Mallow GAA Complex on Monday. Pictured are pupils at the Gaelscoil Naionra with Priomhoide Maire Ui Bhrian, Parade Grand Marshall Corrie O’Flynn, Parade Committee Chairman Noel O’Connor, and committee members Hanna ‘Ma’ Sheahan, Michael O’Donovan, Mags O’Riordan and Aideen McAuliffe. Pic, S Murphy.

With just five weeks to go to, the St. Patrick’s Day Mallow Parade Committee officially launched their plans on Monday in Mallow GAA Complex. This is Mallow Parade number 32. Over the last number of years, Mallow has been in festive mood for Saint Patrick’s Day when the annual parade proceeds down Davis Street with much colour and spectacle. As a result of much campaigning in the local media over 32 years ago about the lack of a parade in Mallow, Hanna ‘Ma’ Sheahan, Mary O’Brien and the late Tommy Conroy took up the challenge to organise a parade and formed the first committee in Mallow; and that was all of thirty two years ago.
This year’s Parade Grand Marshal will be Corrie O’Flynn. Corrie is a well known businesswoman in Mallow, being the owner and proprietor of O’Flynn’s Footwear Ltd., trading at Bank Place. The O’Flynn family have been in business for a long number of years in Mallow. Corrie’s mother Celeste and father Con traded in Mallow town in hardware merchandise. Corrie’ brothers Con and Billy, and sister Jeanne, also involved themselves in business. Her brother Con has a thriving furniture business in West End. All in all, Mallow is deeply indebted to the O’Flynn family for all the employment they gave to the people of Mallow down through the years, and of course to Corrie who continues to provide such wonderful work opportunities for Mallow people in her footwear shop.
Speaking to the media on Monday at the parade launch, Corrie O’Flynn said, “I was absolutely delighted to have been chosen to lead this year’s Mallow St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I am really looking forward to turning the corner of the Town Park and to facing down Thomas Davis Street at 2.30pm on the 17th. I was really stunned when the Secretary of the Mallow Parade, Maire Ui Bhriain, contacted me with the good news of the request by the committee that I act as Grand Marshal for 2018. I replied that I would be delighted to do so, especially as I believe my late father and mother would be delighted to think that the memory of their life’s’ work was being celebrated by me leading the Mallow Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. I know I will be honouring the memory of my late father and mother greatly by accepting this honour given to me by the people of Mallow and I accept it on behalf of the O’Flynn Family. In accepting this, I do so as a reflection of honouring the memory of my mother Celeste and my father Cor and their great contribution to the business life of Mallow, and as a remembrance of the employment created by my family the O’Flynns in the town over many, many years. I have made enquiries and I see that I am following on from a long list of Grand Marshals, including Rosemary O’Neill (daughter of Tip O’Neill, USA politician) Michael O’Neill (Rosemary’s Mallow cousin and direct descendent of Senator Tip O’Neill), Hanna Sheahan (founding member of the Mallow parade), Guy Arnoud (Treguier, Brittany) and Randy Tietz (Tinley Park, Illinois). I am pleased that previous Grand Marshals, Liam Sheehan and Eugene Cosgrove, have indicated that they will give me some tips about doing this great job.”
Continuing, Corrie said, “This honour, that has been bestowed on me is a recognition of my carrying on the tradition of a family business on the Main Street —– and it is indeed regrettable that so many family names have disappeared off the Main Street (Davis Street) over the years. The employment given in Mallow did make a positive difference in people’s lives. In particular I will be thinking of my mother Celeste as I pass by my shop on 17th March. My mother passed away just last year. I can sense from all the good wishes I have received from Mallow, when it was learned that I will be the Grand Marshal, that 17th March is going to be a memorable day for me and I look forward to greeting one and all and being a part of the free family fun day.”
Also on hand at the parade launch was Michael O’Donovan who has acted as MC for well over 22 years now. Speaking to the press, Michael said, “The 17th March each year is always a memorable one for me. The committee do their best to keep me informed of which group is coming next but inevitably there are many impromptu remarks to be made and I think those lining the streets of Mallow enjoy my humorous comments. What I really enjoy is watching the very young children dancing on the streets of the town, displaying their talents to the people of Mallow. In particular, it is lovely to see the community, the Mallow community, taking pride in their town and in the community activities that Mallow people are involved in. Once the parade has passed and the results have been announced, I get the job of singing the National Anthem. This singing of Amhran na bhFiann is a magical moment for me and all the good things about our town and our country come to mind. I am grateful to Maire Ui Brian, Secretary, and Rose Kelleher who supply me with information on the groups, and to Hanna Sheahan for having me year after year. They have reminded me to ask groups which intend to participate, and have not registered, to do so as soon as possible. Looking forward to seeing all your readers on the 17th.”
The theme of this year’s Parade is ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling.’ It is only fitting that this is our theme for this year as we continue locally to develop a strong community spirit while at the same time making strides to provide a happier town for all families to live and play in.
The Parade will assemble in Mallow Town Park between 1.00pm and 2.00pm and the start time is 2.00pm on Saturday, 17th March. Please note that the start time of the Parade has been moved forward a half an hour (to 2pm rather than 2.30pm, as in previous years) to avoid clashes with sporting events on the day. Cuisle Avondhu will provide pre-parade entertainment on the reviewing platform on Davis Street/Main Street from 1.00pm onwards.
An integral part of the parade is the competition between the groups participating. There are a number of categories under which these groups compete, including School Groups, Light Entertainment Groups, and Industrial and Business Groups. This year the Parade Committee has enlisted the services of three well qualified judges for the parade competition, namely John O’Connor, presenter of the C 103 Dairygold Agricultural Programme, and Aileen McDonnell and Mags O Riordan of Centre Stage Drama School.
Intending participants should make contact with either Mairie Ui Bhriain in the Naionra at Mallow GAA Complex, or Noel O’Connor at 087 2738 222.