GAA clash forces early start to St. Patrick’s Day parade in Mayo county town

The St. Patrick's Day parade in Castlebar on Sunday, March 17, will start at 12 noon.

The move is to avoid a clash with the GAA National Football League clash between Mayo and Derry taking place at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park at 3.45 p.m.

The decision was taken by the parade organising committee following discussions with An Garda Síochána.

It means that those taking part in the event must start assembling at An Sportlann from 11 a.m.

The parade will follow the usual route via Spencer Street, the Mall, Ellison Street, Market Square, Chapel Street, Newline, New Antrim Street, Linenhall Street and Main Street, where the reviewing stand will be located.

Chapel Street is once again being designed a sensory street for all people with autism and their families.

It will be a noise-free zone to ensure those on the autism spectrum can enjoy the parade without stress or discomfort.

The initiative was introduced last year and proved very successful.

It was the brainchild of the local committee seeking full accreditation for Castlebar as an Autism Friendly Town.

The theme of this year's parade is 'Home to Mayo'.

This is in line with Mayo County Council's initiative to extend the hand of friendship to the Mayo diaspora on the occasion of Ireland's national day of celebration.

Sean Horkan fills the role of chief marshal and in the region of 5,000 people are expected to line the streets for one of the county town's most memorable days of the year.