Grand Marshal 2019 - Longford St. Patrick's Festival 2019

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Grand Marshal 2019

Parade details

Grand Marshal 2019

We are delighted to announce our Grand Marshal 2019 is the very well know and very popular business man, Pat Lynch. Pat has the distinction of being the founder of the parade when he served on Chamber Management Committee many years ago - and also served as a Chamber Vice-President. We can thank him for his drive and commitment in bringing the parade to Longford - and it continues to survive into 2019.

A native Cavan man, Pat moved to Longford in 1957 to work with Ideal Furnitures.  Approximately three years later, while still living in Longford, he opened a furniture business in Sligo. Following advice from John Quinn, Pat and his wife Molly purchased Drums shop on Lower Main Street, opening Longford House Furnitures (currently PTSB bank) and about ten years later they expanded next door into what was Lily Greys Hairdressers. Longford House Furnitures remained in business until the late seventies when Pat and Molly returned to Great Water Street, continuing their furniture business.

Now, 60 years after opening his first store, Pat continues his trade, enjoying nothing more than the buy and the sell, chatting with customers and completing that deal! Pat got involved in Longford Chamber of Commerce as soon as he arrived in Longford. Martin Timlin was President at the time. In those days,  Dublin was the only county to hold a St Patricks Day Parade. Pat’s wish was for Longford to host their own and with this in mind, he raised the subject of a Longford Parade with the Chamber.  The matter was discussed over the next couple of years and in the early seventies, with the backing of Paddy Glennon, the first Longford St Patrick’s Day Parade took place. Paddy agreed to provide two lorries to be used as floats, plus an additional two floats from Glennon’s factory - this got the whole thing moving.

In that first year, eleven bands and twenty-six floats took part.  In year two of the parade, eighteen bands and over forty floats got involved. The parade was so long, they needed to go out through Teffia Park.
The entire Chamber were very much involved, members including Pat Stenson, John Brown, Brendan Farrell, Anthony Farrell, Hugh Shannon and Bernie Crossan were key participants of the organising committee. Local football clubs acted as stewards and other volunteers helped feed participants in the Army Barracks -  the Longford St Patrick’s Day Parade became, very much, a community affair and got bigger every year.

After the Parade got off the ground, the Longford Chamber looked into Christmas Lights for the town. About one month before Christmas, Pat saw a newspaper advertisement for lights for sale in Killarney. He borrowed Kathleen Reynold’s Station Wagon, drove to  Killarney and bought Longford’s first set of Christmas lights. The lights were too large to fit in the car, so Donlon Couriers collected them the following Wednesday. Under the Chamber’s guidance, and with no time to waste, Christmas lights were put up in the town by hardy volunteers.  The following year, a crib was built with wood donated by Glennon Sawmills.

In the 1980s Albert Reynolds was invited to take on the Presidency of the Chamber, but as he travelled quite a bit, he only agreed to take the office on the condition that Pat acted as Vice President and filled in on his absence.  Pat agreed and fulfilled this role for five years. During his term as Vice President he, along with Albert Reynolds and Pat Stenson from the Chamber sat on a committee that identified a derelict space which could be turned into a public amenity for the people of Longford – this is now known as the Mall Complex, an amenity enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

The Longford St. Patricks Day Parade has been an important annual event for Pat, initially as founder and organiser, then in the latter years as a spectator and admirer.  Since its inception over forty years ago, the parade has continued to grow  in sheer numbers of people as well as in its importance to families from Longford and surrounding counties.   
Pat a fervent GAA supporter is well known for flying the flags for both Cavan and Longford - literally!   Pat is honoured and humbled to serve as Grand Marshal, he knows that other former Chamber members who worked so hard on bringing parades to the people of Longford will be marching right along with him.  He  looks forward to seeing his fellow Longfordians on March 17th to celebrate the town he loves so well.


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