Thursday, November 5, 2015

Photographs of Parades through Athy's Main Street

I recently came across some photographs of parades through the town featuring a number of businesses which are no longer trading.  I use the word ‘parades’ in the plural as the photographs which at first sight seem to record one parade show the participants travelling and parading in the opposite direction, leading me to believe that two parades at least were captured on film. 

The first parade featured tractor drawn floats advertising the Trailer Manufacturing and McCormick Agency of Glespen Brothers of Athy.  Glespens operate from premises at Duke Street which I believe are now occupied by Pizza Pan. 

John Farrell, Licensed Carrier, Athy with a Dublin depot at Mary Street had one of his lorries in the parade.  John, who started business in Ballylinan, eventually passed it on to his son Freddie.  Glespens and Farrell have long ceased business.  Another exhibitor was Asbestos Cement Limited who are still in Athy but now operate under the name Tegral.

There is nothing to indicate the year the parade took place, or indeed the occasion.  Was it perhaps a St. Patrick’s Day Parade sometime in the 1950s?  I am showing a photograph from that parade of one of the Glespen Brothers floats as it climbed up Crom a Boo Bridge from the Leinster Street direction.

The second parade shows the participants approaching from the William Street direction and were photographed near Deegans premises of Duke Street.  The shop has in the meantime changed hands, as have two of the participants photographed in the parade, Flemings Fireclays and D. & J. Carbery Ltd.  Senior students from Scoil Mhuire also paraded, while a horse drawn brake had what appears to be actors in period dress advertising a forthcoming drama.  The I.N.F. St. Patrick’s Branch Athy banner was carried behind an unnamed pipe band.  The photograph I have chosen to show from this parade may hold the key to identifying the year it was held.  The year 1853 appears on the banner held by the lone marcher in front, with further banners bearing the dates 1883 and 1933 following on.  Was this parade held in 1953 as part of the An Tostal Festival?

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