LAHARDANE, Mayo’s ‘Titanic village’, is getting shipshape for its first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Behind the initiative, which has been warmly welcomed locally, are members of the Nephin View Restoration Group which specialises in vintage machinery.
Splendid old tractors, workhorses from the last century, will jostle for space with threshing machines, balers, corn crushers and saloon cars from a bygone era on the main street of the north Mayo hamlet on March 17.
Explains group treasurer Ray Lynn: “Over the years we have forever been travelling to parades, here there and everywhere.
“This year we decided to hold our own. The response from the local community has been tremendous. Excitement is building.
“Apart from the old machinery, lots of floats have been organised. It promises to be a great day out for the entire family.
“The two local pubs, Leonards and Murphy’s, have been most supportive.
“Parade participants will mobilise on the Crossmolina Road side of the village at around one o’clock, with the parade itself beginning an hour later.”
The grand marshal of the parade will be six-year-old Tadhg Kelly whose mother, Moya Muldowney, is a native of Lahardane.
Little Tadhg has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy which meant he was confined to a wheelchair before being sent to the United States for specialist surgery.
Now he is well on the road to recovery and taking his first steps.
Nephin View Restoration Group, which has raised tens of thousands for various charities over the years, naturally were only too happy to contribute to the fundraising drive on behalf of Tadhg.
Now Tadhg, along with mum, Moya, and dad, Jonathan, are only too happy to reciprocate.
“The family said they would be delighted to come when we asked,” explained Ray Lynn. “Tadhg and Moya will be leading the parade in an old vintage car.”
The parade will also be graced by the presence of young members of the star-studded Ardagh Boxing Club who have had huge successes in competitive events of late.
St. Patrick’s Day in Lahardane will undoubtedly see the largest turnout in the village since April 2012 when the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic was commemorated.