THOUSANDS swapped the recession blues for the colour and craic across Donegal for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Yesterday (Sunday) Ardara created a world record for having 229 St Patrick’s in their colourful parade while hopes are still high the town of Glenties may also have snatched a world record for the most number of Leprechauns .
“We’re delighted here in Ardara. There was no official record for the number of St Patrick’s in a parade, so we decided to create one,” Stephen McCahill from Ardara told the Donegal News.
Meanwhile, people in the neighbouring village of Glenties are still keeping their hopes up that they could have a Guinness World Record after putting 1,024 leprechauns in their parade. The tremendous turn-out was the result of months of hard work by the people of the town.
Unfortunately the l attempt was beaten by the people of Bandon in Co Cork who had 1,263 leprechauns. However, yesterday there was speculation the Bandon attempt may not be ratified as some of the participants were not dressed properly.
One of the main driving forces behind the Glenties record attempt, Carmel Doherty, said she was delighted by how well the day went.
“It really was just incredible how well people responded. The sight of more than 1,000 people dressed as leprechauns on the Main Street was just breath-taking.
“People came from everywhere and everyone was on their best behaviour,” she said.
Just four leprechauns were disqualified in Glenties because they were not properly dressed!
Meanwhile, towns and villages across Donegal came to a standstill as parades took place. In Letterkenny well over 10,000 people lined the streets while other big parades took place in Gweedore, Falcarragh, Annagry, Dungloe, Dunfanaghy, Buncrana and Carrigart.
With over 50 entries the Letterkenny parade proved as colourful as ever. It took 90 minutes for the parade to pass through Letterkenny Main Street that was lined with thousands of spectators.
The traditional parade lead by the 28th Infantry Battalion included sporting clubs, community groups, motorbikes, vintage cars and a wide variety of businesses accompanied by wonderful bands bringing wonderful colour and music to the streets of Letterkenny.
As usual the judges had tough decisions to make in picking the best entries. The winning entries are as follows: Overall Parade Winner – Letterkenny Rugby Club; Best Band – Letterkenny and District Caledonian Pipe Band; Business – The Orchard Inn & Pulse Nightclub;
Community – Letterkenny Reunion; Tourism – Lurgybrack Open Farm; Youth – Encore Performing Arts Academy; Carnival – Letterkenny Gaels, Jigs n Reels; Environment – Donegal Traveller’s Project, Respecting & Connecting Community. Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce are the sole organisers of the parade but as John Watson, President explains it couldn’t happen without lots of help, “The Parade is one of the biggest events of the year and it is a real collective effort that makes it happen and pass off safely. The businesses that give generously to finance the parade, Letterkenny Town Council, The Gardai, Civil Defence, and all our many volunteers who carried out the bucket collection and acted as stewards during the parade. Also our appreciation goes out to the many groups and businesses that entered the parade to make it a success and all the people who lined the parade route.”
Gardai reported 27 arrests were made for public order offences most of which were ‘drink related’