There was widespread shock last week when the St Patrick's Day committee in the East Cork town.

Cancelled parade won't stop Midleton having fun

By Marguerite Kiely

The parade may be cancelled, but that hasn’t stopped the people of Midleton from coming together to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in style.

There was widespread shock last week when the St Patrick's Day committee in the East Cork town announced that the annual parade was to be cancelled. The reason given was that the committee were unable to round up enough volunteers for the event.

Sinn Fein Cllr Danielle Twomey said: “It was impossible to get the parade organised with such a short timeframe. We were given a deadline to have 50 volunteers, but we only were able to scrape together 20. From a health and safety point of view, we had to pull the parade. We didn’t have enough volunteers to man the road closure points or to steward along the parade route.”

There was great disappointment when the news broke, but it wasn’t long before the local community came together to ensure that St Patrick’s Day festivities would continue, even if the parade had been cancelled.

A group of spirited locals formed a last-minute committee with the aim of creating a fun-filled event at The Fair Green, Midleton from 2.30-5.30pm on 17 March.

The gathering will consist of music, games and “as much entertainment as we can get our hands on,” according to the committee.

“The Midleton Christmas Lights Committee are organising a family fun event,” said Rebecca Darcy. “We will have a kids' fancy dress, bucking broncos, and bouncy castles. We are going to put something together to mark the day.”

The event was the brainchild of Alan Deady who stepped in to ensure the people of Midleton would have a St Patrick’s day celebration.

“When I heard the news that the parade was cancelled, I was shocked. Midleton is a great little town and there is usually never an issue getting volunteers,” he told the Cork Independent.

He continued: “I decided something should be done. I knew with the short time frame that a parade was out of the question so decided to do a fun day. Thankfully the Christmas Lights Committee jumped on board to help.

“We sat down on Tuesday night, trashed out a plan, made a few calls and got the ball rolling. The messages of support and people offering help and services since have been overwhelming. I love Midleton, it's a great town, and the people there are amazing. It's only right that they get to celebrate their national holiday,” he said.

Local businesses have also gotten involved, making sure the children of Midleton will have their day out.

Jade Hurley, Front Office Manager of the Midleton Park Hotel said the hotel has organised a kids' disco, face painting and a performance by local dance school Studio D: “There are lots of parents with kids who would have been excited for Paddy’s Day. I have a little girl who is in junior infants and she was so excited to see the parade because she had never experienced one because of Covid-19.”

She added: “When we got the news that it had been cancelled we said ‘We have the hall free in Midleton Park, why don’t we do something now that they won’t get to go to the parade?’ We decided to organise the disco, and no matter what the weather is like, it can still go ahead.”

Cllr Danielle Twomey added that hopes are high for the success of next year’s parade: “We already have a plan in place to ensure that this never happens again and next year will be bigger and better.”

Parades across Cork county

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city, there’s a whole host of parades taking place in towns around Cork county:

• Ballincollig - According to organisers, the parade will get underway at 3pm outside the Credit Union building on Harrington Street.

• Bandon - It’s a 2.30pm start for the West Cork town.

• Carrigaline - The parade will assemble in the car park of the Co-Op at 2pm and will proceed up Main Street.

• Cobh - At 2pm the parade will get underway, with a firework display taking place at 7.30pm.

• Charleville - 12.45pm is the kick-off time for the parade in the North Cork town.

• Fermoy - The parade will leave from Duna Eala on the Cork Road (opposite Cavanagh’s Garage) at 11am.

• Kanturk - The new school is the starting point for the Kanturk parade, where it will leave at 2.30pm. It will pass through the town to its final destination of Strand Street.

• Kinsale - There are 2 options here with The Maritime Parade at 7.30pm on Thursday 16, and the Street Parade kicking off at 3pm on Friday.

• Macroom - The organisers said the Macroom parade will assemble at 3.30pm from St Colman’s Park.

• Mallow - The parade will leave at Park Road at 2pm before heading into the town centre.

• Millstreet - This is a late start with the parade kicking off at 4.45pm.

• Youghal - The starting point for the Youghal parade is Brehon Road at 3pm.