Curragraigue parade is shortest and sweet
The community of Ballindaggin came out in numbers to join the organisers of Ireland's 'shortest, smallest and least known parade' in trying to drive the snow out of Ireland - a task which sadly failed within hours as the min-Beast from the East reared its head.
While St Patrick was famous for driving the snakes out of Ireland, this little parade, organised by Michael Fortune and some friends, aimed to rally the community to one cause - the end of snow in the area after a torrid start to March with Storm Emma and the Beast from the East.
Curragraigue, near Ballindaggin, was the idyllic setting for the parade, which started at 11 a.m. sharp and finished at 11.20 a.m.
Mr Fortune and his team brought snow for the children to enjoy, having shovelled it into a trailer on the morning of the parade.
This is the second year the parade has been held and numbers were up to more than 80. Considering the low turn out at many parades that day, the Curragraigue parade's claim to be Ireland's smallest was tested.
The theme this year, 'Driving the Snow Out of Ireland', involved a procession led by St Patrick himself, 'driving the last of the snow out of Ireland on a tractor or similar vehicle'. Organisers asked people to grab a bucket of the last snow, stick it in the freezer and bring it along to the parade.
'We did the parade last year as a bit of craic. A lot more people turned out this year; it was packed for a bitterly cold day. The aim was to drive the snow out of Ireland but the snow returned at 5 a.m. the next morning so it was a complete failure. It brought the snow on,' said Mr Fortune.
He said most people bring their children to their local town. 'You have to drive them in, get parking and it takes a lot of time. Here, it was all about seeing your neighbours and they all came to have a look, along with some people who turned up to see what the community was doing. If you turned up, you were in the parade. Our parade was about 10 minutes but we did a loop which brought it up to 20 minutes.'
Afterwards, there was a snowball fight.
'It was more like an iceball fight! All the kids were playing with the snow and everyone pulled together to make it a great day.'
Hot tea and coffee was served at a marquee afterwards, with buns and cakes provided by local residents and music to enjoy.
'It was all for the kids. Damien Fitzhenry helped out and we had one piper from Ballindaggin Pipe Band and a car with a pile of snow in the back of it. We saw local people who wouldn't normally go into the village so, all in all, it was a very positive day,' Mr Fortune said.