Saint Patrick’s Day in Sligo and Beyond
March 17th saw the Annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade take place in Sligo. This year, an estimated 30,000 people turned out to watch the Sligo Parade meander through our streets. There were many floats from our members companies in the Parade and we extend our congratulations to all the winners and all those who participated. What is a remarkable feature of the parade every year is the amount of our young people participating through various clubs and societies, all overseen by adults working in a voluntary capacity to enrich their lives.
The theme for this year’s Parade was WB Yeats in recognition of the Poet’s 150th birthday. Sligo Tidy Towns managed to assemble in the region of 150 Yeats lookalikes for the parade which was a great achievement. Indeed, Yeats featured prominently not just in Sligo but throughout the world. The Shamrock Bowl presented to President Obama in the White House carried lines of Yeats’s poem “He wishes from the Cloths of Heaven”. In addition, President Obama and Vice-President Biden were presented with specially commissioned books of Yeats Poetry which were bound in Sligo. Meanwhile, over in London, the Irish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dan Mulhall, a regular visitor to Sligo, recited The Lake Isle of Innisfree in Trafalgar Square.
St Patrick’s Day is a day for Ireland to celebrate our Irishness at home and abroad. It is also an opportunity to promote all that is good about Ireland and to re-connect with our Diaspora. Sligo Chamber sits on the Steering National Steering Group of Yeats2015 and this year, of all years, is an opportunity to celebrate the life and inspiration of WB Yeats who called Sligo his “Spiritual Home”.
There is much yet to be done in maximising the potential of Sligo’s Yeatsian connection. It will need local, national and international support. It must start with the local however. That is why the Chamber wants to see an International Yeats Centre in Sligo. We will continue to strive, in partnership, with those who want to achieve that goal. That way we can all play a more meaningful role in “Helping Sligo Grow”.