INNISKEEN PARADE

1946 Ford Anglia: part of the Vintage Display in the Inniskeen Parade Photo:  © Michael Fisher

1946 Ford Anglia: part of the Vintage Display in the Inniskeen Parade Photo: © Michael Fisher

The highlight of the St Patrick’s weekend celebrations in Inniskeen near Carrickmacross in County Monaghan was the annual parade this afternoon. Participants and floats gathered at the chapel and made their way into the village, passing the reviewing stand set up near the community centre.

Corduff Pipe Band at the Inniskeen St Patrick's Parade Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Corduff Pipe Band at the Inniskeen St Patrick’s Parade Photo: © Michael Fisher

All-Ireland pipe band champions Corduff Pipe Band were among three bands in the parade, along with Aughnamullen Pipe Band and the Stedfast Brass Band, which will be in Carrickmacross on Tuesday morning.

Plenty of vintage displays at Inniskeen St Patrick's Parade  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Plenty of vintage displays at Inniskeen St Patrick’s Parade Photo: © Michael Fisher

The organising committee encouraged all small firms and businesses in the area to participate with a float depicting their crafty ideas and efforts (advertisements etc). There is a prize on the day for the best float.

Monaghan SF Cllr Noel Keelan flying the national flag on his vintage tractor in Inniskeen Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Monaghan SF Cllr Noel Keelan flying the national flag on his vintage tractor in Inniskeen Photo: © Michael Fisher

In conjunction with the weekend celebrations, the committee organised an art competition for the children of Blackstaff National School and Inniskeen National School with prizes for the best three entrants.  Any children who took part in the St Patrick’s parade were being encouraged to wear home-made or fancy dress costumes to illustrate the theme of leprechauns and fairies. There is a prize for the best costume.

Sean Conlan T.D. at the Inniskeen Parade Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Sean Conlan T.D. at the Inniskeen Parade Photo: © Michael Fisher

A Leprechauns Hunt was held on Sat 14th and there was an Art competition run through the local schools, St.Daigh’s National School and Scoil Cholmcille National School, Blackstaff, Inniskeen. In the Art Competition there were three categories – Jnr/Snr – 1st/2nd/3rd – 4th/5th/6th. There was a winner and runners up from each category. There were a great many entries for the Art competition, and Sarah Leddy (who herself, won the Overall Credit Union Art Competition) had a difficult task of choosing from all the entries. All winners from the Art competition, the Leprechaun hunt (Saturday) and winners of the fancy dress theme “Leprechauns and Faeries” who we hope will take part in the parade also will be announced on Sunday.

Slurry Spreader: part of Inniskeen's St Patrick's Parade Photo: © Michael Fisher

Slurry Spreader: part of Inniskeen’s St Patrick’s Parade Photo: © Michael Fisher

CORDUFF PIPE BAND

Corduff Pipe Band Big Drum Photo: © Michael Fisher

Corduff Pipe Band Big Drum Photo: © Michael Fisher

It was a great night out tonight for the members of Corduff Pipe Band near Carrickmacross in County Monaghan, along with their families and supporters. Over 100 gathered for a dinner at Corduff/Raferagh community centre, where the band practises every Thursday night at 8pm.

Corduff Pipe Band Big Drum Photo: © Michael Fisher

Corduff Pipe Band Big Drum Photo: © Michael Fisher

It’s a modern community hall, with a social club attached (The Mountain Dew), that was officially opened by President McAleese in December 2005.

Corduff Pipe Band Big Drum Photo: © Michael Fisher

Corduff Pipe Band set of Bagpipes Photo: © Michael Fisher

The band are the current All-Ireland champions in the annual Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, having won the title in Sligo in 2014 and the previous year in Derry. Tonight they were presenting medals and certificates to around thirty band members. In at least two cases, there are three generations of the same family playing in the band.

The oldest member is eighty: President of the Band Patsy Finnegan. The youngest is eight years old, son of pipe major Sean Finnegan, whose father James is a drummer in the band. The band regularly appears at GAA County finals to entertain the crowd during the breaks.

The band was formed in 1917 as the Thomas Ashe Pipe Band. They won an All-Ireland title in 1973 and arising from it received an invitation to London to participate in the St Patrick’s Day parade in 1974 and to play in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, one of the many memories Patsy Finnegan has. When he celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife Ann last October, the band paid them a special tribute by parading into the chapel at Corduff and performing Amazing Grace in front of the altar. They also played this stirring tune when they joined with four other local pipe bands and the Fuzzy Burgers group in a fundraiser for the restoration of Castleblayney’s former courthouse/Market House building.

Corduff Pipe Band at Castleblayney fundraiser in Glencarn Hotel Photo: © Michael Fisher

Corduff Pipe Band at Castleblayney fundraiser in Glencarn Hotel Photo: © Michael Fisher