Luton had a warm welcome for everyone who braved the snow and freezing temperatures for its weekend of St Patrick’s celebrations.
On the day itself, Saturday, Luton Irish Forum provided music and song by John Devine and Eugene Doonan as part of its day long programme which also included The Finbar Conway Academy of Irish Dancing on stage.
Although fingers had been crossed for good weather for the annual parade on Sunday it was eventually cancelled for public safety reasons.
The pre-parade Mass went ahead as usual at Our Lady Help of Christians Church accompanied by the Luton Irish Forum Choir as did the elegant reception for local dignitaries hosted at Luton Town Hall by Luton’s Mayor Mohammad Ayub and his wife Naseem with Noelette Hanley and Tom Scanlon of Luton Irish Forum.
The embassy of Ireland was represented by Celine Byrne.
Other distinguished guests who braved the weather to support the event included the Mayor of Dunstable Gloria Martin and the Deputy Mayor of neighbouring Houghton Regis Councillor Kenneth Wattingham and many other councillors from the local boroughs.
They all mingled with volunteers from Luton Irish Forum, the local Emerald Pipe Band, local police, representatives from the GAA, Luton’s Mayo Association, Comhaltas and the Stevenage Irish Society.
They were entertained by a delightful young trio – Emmett Greaney, his sister Emily, and Eabha McDonagh, over for the weekend from Tuam, in County Galway.
Sunday afternoon’s programme was transferred to the Hat Factory, Luton’s Centre for Creative Arts opposite the town’s railway station and colcannon and beef stew helped people keep the cold out.
Master of Ceremonies Jim Carway presented the stage programme starting with Rigs & Jeels, an energetic young group of musicians and Irish step dancers from Tipperary.
The crowd gave a warm welcome to Tommy Fleming who performed songs by Irish composers in the spirit of the day – Raglan Road, Fields of Athenry, Song for Ireland and more.
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