West Limerick turns green this weekend as communities across the area are expected to turn out in huge numbers to mark the national feast day, with parades planned in four towns, Newcastle West, Abbeyfeale, Rathkeale and Askeaton. The biggest parade in the area will be in Newcastle West. Unlike the other three towns who have their parades on St. Patrick’s Day, the Newcastle West parade is on Monday.

Crowds are expected to converge on the county capital for the parade which gets under way at Church Street at 3.30pm and follows the same route as in previous years, led by Newcastle West and District Pipe Band, which is just one of a number of bands taking part. The Grand Marshal for this year’s parade will be Newcastle West’s Mary Kirby who won a bronze medal at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, in Athens. The parade will include sporting, voluntary and civic organisations and the organisers are still encou-raging businesses and groups from all across west Limerick to enter the event. A prize for the best float and best window will be awarded and the winners will be announced at the parade.

The parade in Rathkeale will start the celebrations in west Limerick on St. Patrick’s Day. It gets under way at 12.30pm. Entrants for the parade are asked to meet at 11.45am at the registration desk at Tadhg O’Connor’s DIY Store.  The road will close at 12.15pm.

The 35th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held in Askeaton on Sunday commencing at 2.30pm. It starts at the church car park next to the National School and finishes at Twohig’s SuperValu car park. Participants are asked to arrive one hour prior to the start of the parade. Any groups that wish to per-form in front of the viewing stand are request-ed to register with the committee.

The Abbeyfeale parade will leave the churchyard at 4pm and proceed through the town led by the Rathkeale Brass Band. Abbeyfeale will be in celebratory mood for the national holiday over the weekend, commencing on Friday night with a donkey derby hosted by Jack Ryan’s bar. On Saturday, the pubs will be giving prizes for the best fancy dress costume, so all customers are urged to get into the spirit and dress up as leprechauns, St. Patrick or whatever you feel is appropriate.

At the Abbeyfeale parade, there will be prizes for the best float and best dressed window. There will also be a prize for the family most suitably dressed for the occasion.