With soccer legend John Giles leading the famous Dublin St. Patrick’s Day parade this year, many other counties around Ireland have followed suit by offering the distinction to local sports heroes.
Journal.ie reports that Kilkenny, for instance, is honoring local hurling legend Brian Hogan, who is captain of the Kilkenny hurling team. He will lead the Kilkenny Festival’s parade which will feature 40 hurling clubs from around the county.
In Waterford, recently retired hurler Ken McGrath will be the guest of honor during the March celebrations.
Other counties, however, have opted to shine the light on academia. The President of University of Limerick, Ed Walsh, will be the leader of the Limerick festivities, which hold the bragging rights of being the largest of the regional celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day. Walsh was chosen in order to commemorate UL’s 40th anniversary.
In Bray, Co Wicklow, Emma Hannigan has been picked for grand marshal status. While battling cancer several times, Hannigan wrote several diary style books that chronicled her ordeals with the disease.
Noel McGeeney, Chairperson of the Longford Royal Canal Amenity Group, has been tapped as Longford’s grand marshal.
In Cobh, Co Cork, local singer Joe Devlin will be dressed as the man of the hour St. Patrick himself for the fourth year in a row to lead the saint’s celebratory day.
Marion Fossett, ringmistress of Fossett’s Circus and one third of Ireland’s 1981 Eurovision contenders Sheeba, is leading the Clane, Co Kildare festivities this year. Fossett’s Circus lends itself well to Clane’s St. Patrick’s Day theme of Tir Na Og for 2012.
The Labour party’s Emmett Stagg TD will be offering remarks on the grand stand following Maynooth’s parade, which will not feature a grand marshal this year.
And in Galway City, organizers have turned to the city’s youth in search of this year’s grand marshal. They are looking for a teenager, aged between 14 -18 years who has accomplished something significant or extraordinary for themselves or others to lead the city’s parade next week.