St Patrick was in a jolly mood as he led the parade in Arva last year. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Crowds gather for parades across county

For a small rural county, Cavan hosts more St Patrick’s Day parades than most others. For those still wondering what to do tomorrow (Friday) to celebrate the feast day of our patron saint, MICHAEL KEAVENY has put together this preview of a dozen parades....

Marching in Cavan Town

The Cavan Town Parade will start at the usual time of 12:30pm in the Tesco carpark, with all entrants requested to be at the starting point for 11:45am. The Grand Marshall on the day is comedian Kevin McGahern who is enjoying continued success in Dancing With the Stars and the event will also feature five marching bands. Entry to the parade is free and the best overall float will be awarded the Eddie Brady Memorial Cup.

Cross Border parade in Blacklion

The cross-border morning parade will begin at 11:30am at the XL in Blacklion. Children and parents will walk to Belcoo around the Cottage Meadow and back to Blacklion. Kids are encouraged to bring bikes, go-carts and scooters along with them.

Family fun in Killeshandra

The Lakeland Dairies Carpark is the starting point for the parade in Killeshandra, which sets off at 12.30pm. With at least 20 floats taking part, the parade will be led by St Patrick himself who will be followed by the Mountain Road Pipe Band. There will be ten categories of prizes for participants, including best overall float, best novelty float and best commercial float. The parade will be followed by a bouncy castle in the town hall for children to all have a bounce in honour of our patron saint.

Cash in, in Kingscourt

This year marks the anniversary of one of the most significant musical events in Cavan’s history. It will be 60 years since Johnny Cash played in the Granada Dance Hall in Kingscourt and the town is keen to remember the event through its parade this year.

Shopkeepers are being encouraged to decorate their windows with the event in mind, while entries are also invited along these lines.

The parade itself will begin at 1pm in the Mount St Joseph area and will be led by the Army Band.

Seeing the funny side in Bailieborough

The Bailieborough Parade gets underway at 2pm at the Community Centre on the Virginia Road and will be led by the Corduff Pipe Band. There will be emphasis on comedy in the parade this year with prizes for the best comedy float, as well as the best overall float and the best-decorated shop front.

There will be a raffle on the day to cover the cost of the parade with an assortment of prizes including cash.

It will be the first parade since 2019 and organisers say they are keen to welcome new participants into the parade but are also looking forward to seeing familiar faces taking part.


Perhaps the biggest parade in the west of the county, the Ballyconnell parade begins at 3pm and will be led by The Mountain Road Band. It will feature entries from the town's businesses, clubs, and societies and will consist of a variety of cars, tractors and lorries. There will be five prizes up for grabs for participants, which are the most artistic float, the funniest float, best junior float, best industrial/commercial float, as well as the perpetual trophy for the best overall float.

There will be a stage set up in the town where patrons can listen to traditional Irish music played by local artists before and after the parade.

Farmers and fairies in Cootehill

The Cootehill parade begins at 3pm on St Patrick's Day and is hoping to build on last year’s event, which organisers say was their ‘largest ever engagement and turnout’ and won an award for its use of social media and its community website. It will feature a range of clubs, organisations and businesses from around Cootehill with their creative displays including the mini farmers and fairies where local kids dress up in their best farmer and fairy outfits, as well as a vintage car competition and the best-dressed dog competition. Also featuring is the Bumble Bee Transformer, as seen on the Late Late Show - a full person-sized yellow and black transformer.

Cootehill Arts segment will also feature three stilt walkers, a drumming squad, and a fire spinner. It will also feature Vietnamese street food, artisan coffee, and ice cream vans for the children, as well as regular service cafes and diners in the town.

Arvagh goes green

Renowned for its colour and humour, the Arva parade starts at 3pm on the town's Main Street. St Patrick himself will lead the parade in Arvagh and all in the town are looking forward to a great St Patrick's weekend. With free entry, a great turnout a great parade is expected. €2,000 of prizes will be awarded for the best floats.

Dancing in Ballyjamesduff

The Ballyjamesduff parade will begin at 4pm, starting at the mart, and will be led out by the Clontibret Pipe Band. There will be prizes of €500 for the best senior float and €300 for the best youth float. Music will begin at the square at 3pm and there will be Irish dancing from the Smith Boylan School of Irish Dancing.

Tractors in Kilnaleck

The Kilnaleck Parade will begin at 3pm and will feature an array of novelty floats. Registration takes place at the handball alley at 2:30pm. St Patrick will lead the parade on horseback. A tractor run for kids will take place for kids on the day, with children encouraged to attend the parade with their pedal tractors. There will be face painting and plenty of extras on the day for children.

Ceol and Craic in Swanlinbar

Heading west again and the Swad parade will take place on Friday, March 17, at 4pm. All floats will assemble at Creamery Road from 3:30pm. There will be the usual prizes for the best floats and for the best-dressed window in the town. No parking on Main Street. Off-street parking is at the Church carpark and the GAA carpark.

Buskers in Ballinagh

The Ballinagh parade will once again begin at 4:30pm from the community centre and will be led by the FCA Colour Band. Music will also be provided by traditional musicians on the bandstand. Local groups, businesses, clubs, and societies are encouraged to take part in the parade, which is free to enter. First, second and third prizes will be given on the day for the best floats.

Magic in Mullagh

Last but not least on the schedule, Mullagh St Patrick's Day Parade begins at 5pm, with floats gathering from 4pm at Mullagh Community Sports Centre on the Moynalty Road. There will be three prizes for best overall float, best local float and best novelty float. The organisers are hoping for a good turnout from local businesses, clubs and societies for an event that promises to be a great family day. After the parade, there will be music and entertainment in the pubs in the town.

Fireworks in Clones

Not quite County Cavan but a popular parade in this region all the same - Clones Parade will begin at 7pm on March 16 at the town's GAA pitch. As it is one of the only night time parades in the country participants are encouraged to decorate their floats with lights. The parade is being led by the Organisation Of National Ex-Servicemen, a veteran group that represents former soldiers of the Irish army. A firework display will take place afterwards.

It will also feature music from Acts Community Church Monaghan and The Manely Family.

Check Clones notice board for more details.