Memories of the first ever Roscommon Easter Parade…

It’s a little early to know what the new Square is going to be like but I hope it’ll be a success and people will enjoy themselves coming to Roscommon and relaxing there

Pictured are members of the first Roscommon Easter Parade committee with then Minister for Post and Telegraphs Tom O’Donnell (third from left). From left to right: Barry Molloy, Sr. Bernadette, Minister for Post and Telegraphs Tom O’Donnell, and Brother Kilkenny.

The first ever Roscommon Easter Parade took place 50 years ago this year in 1972 – under the guidance of Sister Bernadette and a hard-working committee made up of local volunteers.

  Well-known local businessman Barry Molloy Snr. was part of that first committee and remained involved in the organisation of the popular event for the next couple of decades.

  This week, Mr. Molloy, who is now in his 90th year and looking forward to Sunday’s parade, looked back on the event’s humble beginnings in the county town.

  “Things were very simple at that time in Roscommon town. I think Sister Bernadette asked us if we would consider having an Easter Parade. She was always very involved with the primary school in the Convent. A few of us came together with her assistance and organised it on a very limited basis at the time” he said.

  “It was always a voluntary thing so we depended on people and organisations and firms to enter a float. You had to crawl before you walked but it developed from there. As years went by the vintage car people came into it more and you might have had ten Ford cars of different types which were popular back then”.

  While Roscommon was a much smaller town in those days, the parade always received great support locally.

  “The population of Roscommon town was only around 3,000 back then and now it’s around 6,000 so you had a limited number (in attendance) but all the local clubs were always there,” Mr. Molloy said.

  “The local GAA club Roscommon Gaels and Roscommon Golf Club also came into it with their caddy cars so that was a bit of local involvement and it grew from there. You also had different organisations coming in from outside and bands of course were a great help adding music and sound”.

  Mr. Molloy was effusive in his praise for Sister Bernadette, who, it is hoped, will also attend the 50th edition of the event she inspired back in 1972.

  “I have to say that Sister Bernadette was key, she kept us all together and we used meeting rooms in the Convent. We were only too delighted to be part of it as it turns out,” he said.

  “It’s great to see it back…we have a new town centre that will open up the place. It’s a little early to know what the new Square is going to be like but I hope it’ll be a success and people will enjoy themselves coming to Roscommon and relaxing there”.

  The Molloy family have been involved in local business events for generations and this year the mantle has been passed to Barry’s grandson Mark, who is a member of this year’s committee.

  “He’s also chairman of the Darkness Into Light committee and that’s coming up soon. It’s nice to see him being involved. His father (Declan) was always involved in everything so it must follow on! It does no harm to have that, you like to keep the town alive,” Mr. Molloy said.