Irish town of Athenry to hold a ‘digital’ St. Patrick’s Day parade

In light of coronavirus concerns, an online alternative to the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade has been launched in the medieval County Galway town of Athenry.

Following the government’s recommendations announced on Monday, Galway County Council had to announce the cancellation of the annual Athenry St. Patrick’s Day parade. However, this County Galway town has embraced the digital age and come up with a different and unique way of holding the parade.

The parade is among many of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that have been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. The organisers of the parade did not want to let the hard work and practice go to waste and so have decided to create a digital version of the traditional St. Paddy’s Day parade.

Taking the parade online

Credit: Facebook / @athenrystpatricksdayparade

The alternative to the parade through the streets of Athenry was the brainchild of Máire Daly, the chairperson of Gliondar, Athenry Community Arts Group.

“If the audience can’t gather to see us, let us reach out digitally to our audience. If people can’t come to the parade, let’s take the parade to the people,” she said.

Credit: Facebook / @athenrystpatricksdayparade

“In the spirit of community, inclusivity, positivity and participation Athenry Community Council would like to extend to you a special invitation to our “Digital Athenry St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2020,” says the announcement made on the parade’s Facebook page.

Calling for participants

Gliondar Community Arts Group is encouraging those who are staying at home over the coming days to come up with their own ideas for “floats” in the digital parade.

“We invite you to perform your entry in your own location, film it and post it to Facebook to be enjoyed by everyone,” the Facebook post continued.

“There is still an opportunity for us together with friends and family for a bit of craic. Join us and turn your disappointment into joy.”

“Maybe do it in the driveway, film your band practice, choir, cats, dogs, comedy, political, drive-by floats – anything at all! Your imagination is the limit… but it has to be family-friendly,” Máire Daly says.

The organisers are calling for people from outside Athenry to also take part, as parades across the country have been cancelled due to coronavirus.

“You don’t have to be from Athenry, and we look forward to seeing if our friends around the country and beyond will rise to the occasion.”

Prizes are up for grabs!

Athenry’s St. Patrick’s Day parades have traditionally had prizes for best floats in the parade, and although this year the parade has gone digital, the prizes still stand!

“Coveted prizes are original works by local artists that are specific to each year and dated as such. So, we changed the settings on the parade’s Facebook page so the public can post freely.”

There is no doubt that with schools across the country closed, there will be even more entries into this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“Not even the threat of COVID-19 can stop Athenry celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. I can’t wait to see the entries to promote some fun for St. Patrick’s Day. Go n-éirí an t-ádh libh go léir!” said Shelly Herterich Quinn, chairperson of Athenry Community Council and Fianna Fáil Councillor.

To be considered for a prize, entries must be submitted before 6pm on St. Patrick’s Day onto their Facebook page.

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Note: our travel articles should be used only to plan future trips. Please stay at home until the government has advised otherwise.

Aoife O'Mara is a travel-hungry 21-year-old from East Clare. Having returned from a gap year in Melbourne, she discovered a newfound appreciation for the place she calls home. Now studying communications and media production in Griffith College Dublin, she is also writing for the university's magazine. When not dreaming about future trips and adventures, she can be found petting dogs, exploring Ireland's lakes and rivers, and taking photos.