Press Releases

Proud Dub, Nicky, to Lead Largest Ever Festival Parade

Nicky Byrne selected as Grand Marshal of the 2013 St. Patrick’s Festival Parade. 7th March 2013: One of Ireland’s best loved and internationally celebrated pop-artists, Nicky Byrne, was today unveiled as Grand Marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival Parade. A native of Dublin, Byrne was chosen by Festival organisers for his outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry, and will have a lead role in the Festival Parade on Sunday March 17th.

Each year the St. Patrick’s Festival Board honours one or more persons for their outstanding achievements and contribution to Irish life with the title of Grand Marshal. Nicky Byrne, singer-songwriter, broadcaster, TV personality and member of former pop-group sensation, Westlife, follows in the footsteps of other Irish hero’s including Katie Taylor, Johnny Giles, Ronnie Drew and Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, who have all been honoured with the title in recent years. 

Speaking about the announcement, Nicky Byrne said; “I am absolutely thrilled to have been asked to be Grand Marshal for the Dublin Parade this St. Patrick’s Day 2013. I’m a very proud Irishman and have always tried my best to fly our flag around the world in all the amazing places I’ve been to with Westlife, so to be asked to play such a poignant role on our national holiday is special.
I have my memories of sitting on my dad’s shoulders on St. Patrick’s Day in years gone by on O’Connell Street trying to catch a glimpse of all the floats passing by in the Dublin Parade.
So as a very, very proud Dubliner this will definitely be one to tell the grandchildren about.”

Acting CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival, Edelle Moss said “We are delighted to have Nicky Byrne as Grand Marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival parade. Nicky has enjoyed an illustrious career both in Ireland and abroad and is best known as a member of Westlife, the most successful pop-group ever to come out of Ireland. Nicky continues to be a great ambassador for Ireland, lighting up our TV screens as one of our best loved personalities. We are delighted that he is on board for this year’s Parade and wish him all the best as Grand Marshal.”

In the year of The Gathering Ireland 2013, St. Patricks Festival Parade will be fittingly themed ‘Great Things Happen When We Get Together’. This year the greatest ever number of overseas participants will take part in the Festival Parade as part of ‘The People’s Parade’, which will see participants from around the world join the festivities and march through the streets of the capital.

Another highlight of the national holiday celebrations is the Festival’s distinct culture programme ‘I Love My City’, which will see 16 free headline events staged in some of Dublin’s most prestigious cultural institutions over five days.

To pre-register for ‘I Love My City’ or for more information on the St. Patrick’s Festival visit www.stpatricksfestival.ie.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Maria McGrath, Fleishman-Hillard, on 01 6188420 / 0861653055 or maria.mcgrath@fleishmaneurope.com

Kevin Moore, Fleishman-Hillard on 01 6188499 / 0868252611 or Kevin.moore@fleishmaneurope.com

NOTES FOR THE EDITOR:

Nicholas Bernard James Adam Byrne was born in the Northside Dublin suburb of Baldoyle, Nicky always had a keen interest in sport and music.

Although the music industry is the area where Nicky is most well-known, football was always his first love. In 1995, Byrne signed for Leeds United where he played on the reserve team for two years.
Nicky’s goalkeeping career also saw him start for the Republic of Ireland’s U15, U16 and U18 national teams.

In 1998 Nicky joined the Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell managed pop group, I.O.U., which, after several name changes, would eventually become Westlife.
With sales of over 50 million records worldwide, 14 UK number ones (seven of which were consecutive), 2 BRIT Awards, 10 Meteor Irish Music Awards, 4 Record of the Year awards, a World Music Award and an MTV Europe Music Award, Westlife are the most successful pop group of the last decade.

In 2012, Westlife decided to call it a day and announced a Farewell Tour which culminated in a two sell out shows in front of over 150,000 people at Croke Park, a stadium in which they had played twice before.

Since Westlife’s demise, Nicky has been a prominent face on our television screens, competing in the most recent series of Strictly Come Dancing and presenting the RTÉ reality TV series, Football’s Next Star.

Nicky currently resides in Malahide, Dublin with his wife, Georgina, and their twin sons, Rocco and Jay.

St. Patrick’s Festival
The principal aim of St. Patrick’s Festival, since its inauguration, is to develop a major annual international Festival around the national holiday over which the ‘owners’ of the Festival, the Irish people, would stand proud. It sets out to reflect the talents and achievements of Irish people on many national and world stages, and it acts as an exciting showcase for the manifold skills of the people of Ireland, of every age and social background.

As the one national holiday that is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St. Patrick’s Day is the day when everyone wants to be Irish.

Why was it started? 
To offer a national Festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebration in the world.

To create energy and excitement throughout Ireland, via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity.

To provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations.

To project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeals.

The first St Patrick’s Festival was held over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996. The live audience for the day was estimated to be 430,000.

In 1997, we dropped the word “Day” from our title and it became “St. Patrick’s Festival”, a three day event. The Festival has since grown to become a four day festival and in 2001 was enjoyed by 1.2million people.

Preparation for the first St Patrick’s Festival used to take only 5 months, but with the growth of the Festival, it now takes 18 months to plan for Ireland’s biggest annual celebration.

St. Patrick’s Festival is supported by Fáilte Ireland and Dublin City Council.