BY SEAN P. FEENY
WHICH of them is better off? Glenties has the leprechauns and Ardara has St Patrick.
Traditionally, great sporting rivals, both towns are now turning to familiar Irish icons in bids to enter the Guinness Book of Records.
Ardara hopes to have the biggest gathering ever of ‘St Patricks’ at its parade on March 18 while Glenties is vying to become the world centre of leprechauns on March 17.
A leprechaun can change overnight to become the founder of Irish christianity.
The group behind the leprechauns project is the Glenties Community Action Group, which was set up in 2011 to promote Glenties and its environs in a positive way.
Ms Carmel Doherty, Chairperson, said: “The Community Action Group was set up last year in response to the current economic climate and the downturn in employment.
“In our first year we held a music festival, took over the running of the annual harvest fair, fiddlers weekend and the annual Halloween ball and carnival parade.
“This year we have decided to hold a St Patrick’s Day Parade and we’ve been accepted by the Guinness Book of Records to go for the record of the most leprechauns in one place,” she said.
Ms Doherty said the group is very optimistic it can beat the current record of 262 set by RTE Radio One’s Derek Mooney Show last year.
“The whole community has got behind this novel idea and we are currently busy making carnival decorations, and 450 leprechaun outfits, which we are making ourselves to keep costs to a minimum, for anyone that wants to take part,” she said.
Meanwhile, less than ten kilometres away, the community in Ardara is preparing to take to its streets with more than 200 St Patricks on Sunday, March 18.
The town is hoping to set the world record for the biggest number of St Patricks in one parade and special robes are available from various shops.
The initiative is being organised under the auspices for the Ardara Traders and spokesperson, Mr Gerard Slowey said they are expecting people from as far as Dublin and Belfast.
He said. “There has been phenomenal interest in this record attempt, which as far as we know has never been done in Ireland before and as we are registering every participant, we hope that it will subsequently be authenticated by the Guinness Book of World Records.”
Mr Slowey said this was an event for the whole family to enjoy.
“There aren’t that many things families can do all together, this will be a chance for them all to dress up as St Patrick.”
In 2010 Ardara sadly lost its parade marshall, Mr Hugh Diver, in a tragic accident. During last year’s parade the carriage leading the parade was left empty as a mark of respect and as hundreds of St Patricks take to the streets in Ardara this year, it will be a very fitting tribute.