Some of the most iconic sights in the world were glowing green on Friday, in tribute to their Irish communities, on the occasion of yet another glorious celebration of St Patrick’s Day.
In the run-up on the Costa Blanca, we were all worrying about the weather, particularly after the heavy rains during the early part of the week, and even though the morning started out cold and drab, our concerns came to nought as, once again, bright skies greeted the area’s Irish Population who came out in their thousands to provide the best of Irish culture. It was a parade as colourful as any previous and a packed programme of great entertainment to while away the afternoon and evening along the packed Cabo Roig strip.
It promised to be the biggest and the best, and it didn´t disappoint as residents and visitors from far and wide stood shoulder to shoulder in celebration of the Irish Patron Saint.
The streets of Cabo Roig were flooded with colour, when, following the mandatory speeches from organisers and politicians, over 30 custom motorcycles and classic cars did their lap of honour before the Torrevieja pipes and drums stepped off in file. They were accompanied by instruments and bands of all possible types and from many different nations
Parade Grand Marshall Eamon Scanlon, the Teachta Dála for the Sligo–Leitrim constituency, was at the head of the Parade. He was joined by fellow politician Paudge Connolly from County Monaghan along with Orihuela mayor, Emilio Bascuñana, the deputy mayor, Rafael Almagro, and Councillors Sofia Alvarez and Luisa Bone.
They were followed by a wave of music and light, as float after float joined the parade, each displaying happiness and joy on the faces of those involved.
The floats were completely different, each with it’s own style and individuality, and all hoping to achieve the most coveted prize of the “Best Float”, the Donald Rafferty Trophy and a prize of 500 euro in cash, setting them at the top of the festive summit. In the end it was the house built by Leddy Contractors took the honours followed by the Trinity cottage and the Cabo Roig Surfers.
For the most part the floats were situated toward the back of the parade as they followed a multitude of colourful and enthusiastic dancers, musicians and other displays, characters from cartoons and the films, all of whom were having a thoroughly good time.
TKO Radio provided much of the music in the build-up to the event and throughout the afternoon, as local groups Streeters and Kolted kept the party going through Saturday evening.
The fact that the event was a major success was with thanks to the majority of businesses who all came together to dress the streets and parade route, many offering further entertainment and specials to ensure the party continued into the night. From pub to pub across the strip, the picture was much the same, a sea of green, smiles, clinking glasses, music and, of course, loud crowds.
At the Emerald Isle in La Florida the celebration got underway much earlier in the day with performers, including Sunshine FM, Dan Davy, Rebecca Holt, the Crazy Ladies, Raquel Pena and others, entertaining the large crowd from early afternoon. They were joined around the pool by charity stalls and booths provided by Help at Home, the Royal British Legion and more, which were doing their bit to raise funds for their respective organisations, so it was not only St Patrick that was promoted during the day.
Rockys Arena at Alameda del Mar was also awash with green and gold providing music on the terrace long into the night as did Clarke’s Bar in Playa Flamenca where they were also celebrating their 11th anniversary with traditional Irish music and food.
Of course we mustn’t forget that St Patrick himself who was also present at many of the events, no doubt spreading fear amongst the snakes in Spain, worried that history might be repeated, as he banished them from local shores, as he so famously did in Ireland.
But well done to the Irish Community, particularly in Cabo Roig, the organisers, the individuals, the bars, restaurants and many other businesses that worked so hard to make the event another overwhelming success.
And as people flocked from miles around, eager to take a place by the roadside, to observe the spectacle of colour and the carnival atmosphere, it truly was a joy to watch, a pleasure I have no doubt for those who were directly involved and for the many who were taking part.