The 39th Coppeen St Patrick’s Day parade and festival went off in great style. This was the biggest turnout in years, with a great effort being made by several groups. A large convoy of vintage cars and tractors added to the occasion. A lone piper led the parade into the village where a large crowd had gathered. Those who waited on the viewing stand were treated to quite a spectacle as the parade processed by. Then Barry O’Sullivan, chairman Coppeen Community Council welcomed everybody and introduced those on stage. Public representatives included Cllr. Andreas Moynihan F.F., Cllr. Michael Creed F.G., Cllr Declan Hurley Ind. The occasion was officially opened by brothers Tadg and Ciarán Sheehan, sons of the late Sgt. Tim Sheehan, founder of the festival. Both brothers spoke in turn, recalling memories of past years and mentioning the extraordinary efforts and achievements of their late father and the present committee. Ciarán then presented some old films of past parades to Barry O’Sullivan, in the hope that these would be restored and preserved for generations to come. The winning float was then announced, and Mrs Sheehan then presented the Sgt Tim Sheehan perpetual cup to Colum Cronin, representing the Coppeen Archaeological, Historical and Cultural Society.
Then a large group of pupils from the local Coppeen N.S. led by Colum Cronin, played guitars and sang to the delight of an appreciative audience. This was followed by another group of young musicians from Newcestown Comhaltas led by Sean O’Mahony, who performed a variety of Irish Trad. Music and song. Then local dance teacher Pat O’Driscoll brought a troupe of young dancers onto the stage, and their set dancing was very impressive.
Childrens sports then followed, and children of all ages flexed their muscles, while their friends and family encouraged them along. Several side shows added greatly to the fun. The weather was kind, the crowd attendance was good, the atmosphere was terrific and everybody agreed it was a great day all ‘round. The festival raffle took place in An Caipín at 9:30pm. Music was provided in the same venue by the very popular ‘Second Shift’. Already people are talking with great anticipation about next year’s festival, which will be the 40th Anniversary.
See the photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/coppeenheritage/sets/72157623640241982/