50,000 fill the streets with ‘a different kind of energy’ for Limerick St Patrick’s Day parade

An estimated 50,000 flooded the streets of the Treaty City for today's parade. Photo: Don Moloney.

AN ESTIMATED 50,000 St Patrick’s Day revellers cheered on a massive, vibrant parade in Limerick City this afternoon.

The parade was led by Grand Marshall and 2024 BT Young Scientist winner 2024 Seán O’Sullivan (Coláiste Chiaráin), who made national headlines in January when he secured the top prize at the 60th sitting of the prestigious annual science and technology competition.

Describing his experience as Grand Marshall, Seán said it had been a “surreal” day.

“I’ve been to so many St Patrick’s Day parades I could never have imagined being the Grand Marshal. It’s a lovely day, I hope everyone really enjoyed it.”

The theme of this year’s parade, “a different kind of energy”, rang true with crowds as a giant snake – the only one to escape St Patrick – weaved through the streets, operated by street theatre spectaculars Buí Bolg.

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The festivities burst into life and colour from Lumen Street Theatre, Limerick Youth Dance Company, the Hit Machine Drummers, and hundreds of local participants.

Around 1,500 smiling participants took part in this year’s parade, including 70 community groups and clubs dancing, marching, driving, and spreading joy on Shannonside.

Baked in sunshine, the Treaty City’s streets were drowned in bombastic marching bands from home and abroad, including the St Mary’s Prize Band, who have been performing for 139 years, the CBS Pipe Band (established 1963), and Claddagh Mhór Pipe Band, who travelled all the way from Portland, Maine, in the US.

Fidget Feet brought the spectacle to the Treaty streets. Photo: Don Moloney.

This year’s theme also encapsulated Limerick’s evolution, where past and present combined to generate Limerick’s unique energy. 75 floats and groups spilled past the 13th Century King John’s Castle, the majesty of St Mary’s Cathedral, the elegant Georgian architecture quarter, and the artistic treasures housed in Limerick’s museums and galleries.

Electrifying the city with sirens and blue lights were local State and voluntary emergency services heroes, led by Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue Service, Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service, An Garda Síochána, Civil Defence, Irish Red Cross, and Bunratty Search and Rescue Service.

Fidget Feet enthralled with acrobatic pirates swinging out of a pirate ship while members of the Defence Forces, Munster Wheelchair Hurling Camogie Club, stilt-walkers, mirror dancers, gymnasts, and Munster Martial Arts injected further razzmatazz.

Indigenous Biafra took home the Best Overall Performance prize from parade judges this year, with King’s Island Community being awarded with the A Different Kind of Energy Prize.

Limerick felt ‘a different kind of energy’ on the streets. Photo: Don Moloney.

Munster Wheelchair Hurling Camogie Club won Best Youth Group, Buí Bolg took home the Best Creative Entry crown, Claddagh Mhór Pipe Band were named Best Musical Performance, and the Best Community Award went to Limerick Migrant Forum.

Lumen Street Theatre were awarded with the Best Upcycling/Sustainability prize.