Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2021 from Castlebar

Margret Connell, die für Communications beim Mayo County Council arbeitet, hat folgende Grüße aus Castlebar übermittelt:

On behalf of The Mayor of Castlebar Municipal District Councillor Blackie Gavin, Director of Services, Mayo County Council, Mr. John Condon,  Councillor Michael Kilcoyne and Mr. Iarla Moran, Head of Castlebar Municipal District I would like to extend special St Patrick’s Day Greetings to all of you, your Family and Friends.
For the occasion we have compiled some special video greetings for you and the people of Hochstadt which can be viewed on the following links – We would be delighted if you could share our messages.
Cllr Blackie Gavin – Höchstadt St.Patrick’s Day Message
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne – Höchstadt St.Patrick’s Day Message

Michael Baynes hat uns ein Bild des grün erleuchteten GMIT in Castlebar und einige Gedanken zum diesjährigen St. Patrick’s Day geschickt.
Bild Castlebar 2021

When driving around Castlebar this evening, I reflected on St. Patrick’s Days of old and how, even in a pre-Covid world, times had moved on.
As a child in St. Patrick’s BNS, St. Patrick’s Day was always a favourite, firstly because you got a day off school, but there was always something special, something strong about the holiday.  In the weeks coming up to St. Patrick, schoolchildren all over Ireland start their preparations.  They make simplistic decorations for the school and to bring home.  The decorations consist mostly of paper-made shamrocks, flags (or some sort of green, white and orange buntings), hand-drawn leprechauns and anything that could be decorated in green.  The more musical of the children who join the school band spend those weeks marching up and down the yard rehearsing favourites like ‘Fainne Geal An Lae’, ‘The Minstrel Boy’.  Band uniforms have to be prepared too, and others in the school march behind the band waving the decorations from the previous week.  It was very exciting seeing my children Tara and Tom march in the parade with their respective schools following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents.  Traditions are great!
St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland so the country gets a day off if it falls on a weekday, and a Monday (‘Bank Holiday Monday’) off if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday.  If it is a weekday, there are often many events the night before as people don’t have work the next day.  And, if it’s a weekend, the whole weekend can take on a real holiday feel.
March weather in Ireland is not always great.  Snow, torrential rain, hail and storms are not uncommon.  You can be lucky with the weather but more often than not, there will be some showers and it will be cold.  This is so difficult for the young schoolchildren.  They spend weeks preparing for the parade and on the day, the hail stones beating their legs with cold winds blowing at them, makes it very tough.  Everyone in Ireland will remember this.  It is like a ‘rite of passage’.
Parades start at different times and can be of any size depending on the community.  Castlebar usually starts at 2pm.  Towns in close proximity often stagger their parades, not only so people can travel to see all the parades, but so the bands and the floats can take part in many parades in one day.  Remember, this is one of the biggest days in the calendar for many community groups, so to get to showcase more than once on the day makes it more worthwhile.  Castlebar parade is one of the biggest in the west of Ireland with thousands coming to the town to watch it.  The parade passes in about two hours.  For the volunteers, the clean-up starts and a lot of work takes place then.  For the families and spectators, it is a chance to socialise with others and visit a pub for a Guinness or some Irish food.  As the next day is usually a working day, most go home early and leave the night to the younger ones!
This year will be strange.  All events are moving online and as humans are social beings by nature, we like to share these occasions with our friends and fellow countrymen.  Last year, we didn’t know what was ahead for us but now, with the Covid numbers reducing and vaccines being rolled out, we can sit back and make the most of the day.  Today we watched the brilliant online St. Patrick’s Day celebrations from Munich and were proud to see how much it meant to people in Germany, and are very proud to hear our friends in Höchstadt will be lighting up the carp in green to join in the celebrations.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Castlebar.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!
Michael Baynes (Castlebar 14th March 2021)