Wexford turns 40 shades of green!
While the Wexford public looked ominously towards the skies on Saturday night as the county was lashed with wind and rain, St Patrick himself obviously pulled a few strings on Sunday morning and the sun even put an appearance in for the annual celebration of all things Irish!
The Wexford town parade is the oldest in the county, the first one having taken place all the way back in 1904, so it's fair to say that at this stage, organisers know exactly how to create some St Patrick's Day fun!
As always, the excitement was palpable from early on with floats and groups gathering on Trinity Street ahead of setting off. Parents and children created a huge crowd as they shuffled down the quay, jostling to get a birds-eye view of the festivities.
'The crowds were really good this year,' said Parade Secretary John Fowler. 'They stretched the whole way from Trinity Street right down to Redmond Square. The weather stayed fine this year which was a real bonus for us, particularly after it was so bad on Saturday night.'
A huge undertaking, the Wexford parade contained huge amount of colour and creativity this year with around 95 groups and floats taking part. It represented the very heart of Wexford community life with a strong showing from all kinds of groups and sporting organisations. Among the long list of highlights were Wexford Light Opera Society's float ahead of their production of 'Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang', and a whole host of characters from 'Star Wars' courtesy of the 501st Legion. Meanwhile, there was also some wonderful music from the ever present St Patrick's Fife and Drum Band as well as dancing, gymnastics and a whole host of adorable little ones, frantically waving their tricolours.
As usual, members of Wexford County Council and other dignitaries had the best view in the house as they looked on from the stage near the bridge and as the explosion of colour filed by, they were left with the difficult task of picking winners. After much deliberation, the winners were announced as follows:
Best Irish Theme and Winners of The Mayor's Cup were the Irish National Heritage Park. Best Group/Uniform Body and winners of the George Furlong Perpetual Trophy were Wexford Civil Defence, closely followed by the FCA Pipe Band from New Ross. The People Newspapers Award for Best Float went to Wexford Light Opera Society, while the Phil Kelly Trophy for Best Community Group went to 2nd Wexford Scouts.
The Stevie Martin Trophy for Best Dressed Individual/Group went to Shine Bright Theatre with Best Funny/Comic going to the Hook Lighthouse Float.
The parade's overall winner, scooping the Wexford Credit Union Perpetual Trophy, was the Sheila Grace Dance School, who put on some wonderful performances along the route.
Plaques for merit, at the judges' discretion, were also handed out to Marine Watch Wexford, Special Olympics, Wexford Gymnastics Club and Wexford Wanderers Rugby Club.