Singing in the rain as Killarney celebrates in style

Not even an unseasonal heavy mist that threatened to play spoilsport all day long could dampen the spirits or the enthusiasm as Killarney marked July 4th in sensational style with a fabulous Celebration of Irish American Friendship.

The smiles on the faces said it all as hundreds of people lined the streets for the spectacular parade that had that true stamp of quality for which Killarney is renowned.

Lady in red: Newly elected Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Maura Healy-Rae, led the parade in her first official public engagement since taking office.
Pictures: Marie Carroll O’Sullivan

Led by newly elected Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Maura Healy-Rae, who waved to the crowd from a sleek open top dream machine piloted by Sean O’Donoghue, the parade certainly had the wow factor with custom-built floats, marching bands, fun-filled Disney characters, energetic cheerleaders, Great Gatsby dancers and so much more and as free summertime entertainment spectacles go, Killarney proved yet again that nobody does it better.

Mayor Healy-Rae, in her fist official public engagement since taking office, congratulated all involved and extended a warm welcome to visitors to Killarney.

Great Gatsby style dancers on the streets of Killarney

The party continued into the night with hugely popular local band Truly Diverse giving the town a huge burst of energy with a power-packed performance from the Main Street stage which had locals and visitors dancing, bopping and singing along.

Earlier in the day, a creative kids zone was in big demand on the grounds of St Mary’s Church of Ireland while big brass bands sounds and the familiar beat of energetic drum-bands filled the Killarney air.

Two very high quality performances, in keeping with the Irish-American friendship theme, attracted capacity crowds to Killarney House and the Anam Art and Cultural Centre respectively.

Showing their colours for the day that was in it

At the former residence of the McShain family, genealogist and author Kay Caball delivered a fascinating lecture on emigration from Ireland to the US from 1820 to 1920 on Wednesday night while, on Thursday evening, there was an enthralling dramatisation of the life and legacy of entrepreneur and philanthropist John McShain showcasing Killarney’s finest talent.

The event at Anam was co-produced by Noel P O’Sullivan and Fiona Crowley, the latter also narrating, and it featured the wonderful voice of Mary Culloty O’Sullivan, the musical skills of flautist Miriam O’Sullivan and Tony O’Flaherty and the thought-provoking poetry of local wordsmith Tim Buckley.

Main Street was packed to capacity for the open air performance by the brilliant Truly Diverse

The Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce executive described the Celebration of Irish American Friendship as an overwhelming success that went down an absolute treat with visitors and locals who lined the streets in great numbers to join in the occasion.

The Chamber expressed particular gratitude to the numerous locals and business interests who played their part as volunteer stewards, ensuring everything went according to plan and that everybody had a celebration to remember.

It was a festival to remember for Killarney with locals delighted to have had the opportunity to extend the hand of friendship to American visitors given the long-established links that exist between the people of the US and Ireland.

 

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