St. Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny are delighted to announce that this year’s Grand Marshall for the 2022 City St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be Kilkenny Paralympian Mary Fitzgerald.
Mary will lead the St. Patrick’s Day Parade through Kilkenny City on Thursday 17th of March at 1.30pm. The Parade is the central event in a 6-day jammed-packed festival of events for St. Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny as it returns to the streets after a 2-year break.
Mary, who hails from Callan Co. Kilkenny, is a Paralympic athlete who competes in shot put, as well as javelin and discus. Competing since 2010, Mary’s international achievements include winning three gold medals at the 2019 IWAS World Games in Sharjah, UAE, a bronze medal at the 2021 European Para Athletics Championships in Poland and competing at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai. In 2021, she realised a dream by competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in Japan. In tough conditions, Mary finished 6th overall in a very impressive Paralympic debut, and she says this is “only the beginning”.
Mary is a member of Gowran Athletic Club in Co. Kilkenny and studies Occupational Therapy at University College Cork. Based in the village of Gowran, Gowran Athletics Club competes in a wide variety of events including track and field. They have members ranging from 6 to 70+ and work towards every athlete reaching their full potential, whether an amateur or a Paralympian! The club welcome any new members who want to give athletics a go.
Speaking about being Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Festival Parade Kilkenny, Mary said “It’s an honour to be asked to be Grand Marshall of this year’s Parade. I have had an exciting few years, but I’m already working towards the next Paralympics in Paris in 2024. It’s exciting to see women’s sport and indeed disability sport going from strength to strength in Ireland, from a participation-focused level all the way up to elite. Para Athletics has been a huge part of my life from a young age and it has given me so many opportunities”.
David Denieffe secretary from Gowran AC (previously coach to Mary) said; “I’m delighted to see Mary being recognised in this way. She works so hard and is a great club member. She’s a wonderful ambassador for our club and athletics in Kilkenny and for Para Athletics nationally, and despite only getting started, Mary is already inspiring the next generation of athletes. She’s brilliant! The whole club will be out supporting her on St. Patrick’s day and cheering her on!”
We are delighted that Mary has taken on this honour where she joins a select few who can call themselves Kilkenny St. Patrick’s Parade Grand Marshals. Previous Grand Marshal’s of the Kilkenny Parade have included Vicky Phelan (2019), Bobby Kerr (2018), and Cartoon Saloon Oscar nominated Producers/Directors Tomm Moore and Paul Young (2015). Mary is the perfect fit for 2022 and she is a great role model to aspiring athletes and para athletes. Make sure you come out and line the streets to cheer her on this St. Patrick’s Day!