Kinsale is gearing up for a busy St. Patrick's weekend. The town is beautifully decorated with bunting and our National flag is flying proudly throughout the streets. Businesses have gone to great effort to decorate their premises for the occasion and the winners of the best dressed window competition were announced earlier today. Gillian Murphy's gorgeous shop, Greenhouse and Other Stories, won first prize, Poet's Corner won 2nd prize, the Lemon Leaf 3rd and St Vincent de Paul Shop, 4th prize. Congratulations to all.
A welcome reception for the delegation from our twin town, Newport, Rhode Island, will be held tonight in the Trident Hotel, where Sr. Mary Donovan, Grand Marshal, will be presented with her sash for the Parade. An action packed itinerary has been organised for our visitors which includes a trip to Camden Fort Meagher in Crosshaven, Charles Fort, a guided walking tour with Dermot Ryan and receptions at Actons Hotel, Malt Lane and the White House among others. Gorgeous welcome packs have been put together for our American visitors, huge thanks to all the businesses who have given gifts for inclusion.
The firm favorite on the Calendar of Events, the Maritime Parade, will take place tomorrow night at 7.30pm. This year a collection will be held on the Pier for Kinsale RNLI and, in a very poignant gesture, a minute's silence will be held at 7.30pm to honour the memory of the fallen crew of Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter 116, Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, chief pilot Mark Duffy, winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.
Following on from this enjoy the sight of beautifully lit boats sailing into the harbour along with the arrival of St. Patrick by water to the accompaniment of a local choir. The ever popular Thundercats will be there to provide further entertainment in the harbour. The Maritime Parade will culminate in a stunning fireworks display over the harbour.
Festivities on St. Patrick's Day will commence at 2pm with free face painting and balloons for children, a Ceilí at Emmet Place and the presentation of the Children's Art Competition in the Tourist Office. The Street Parade will kick off at 4pm from the New Road and will weave its way from the Glen, to Pearse Street, Barry's Place and along the Pier Road to the reviewing stand near the Pier Head. Boasting the highest number of entries this year, the Parade promises to be a fun, colourful event for all the family.
The St. Patrick's Day festivities would not be possible without the wonderful support of the business community in Kinsale who provide sponsorship in many ways. Please show your support for these businesses and come along to Kinsale this Thursday and Friday and enjoy our National Holiday in style.