Tickets for the 2nd annual Leprechaun Chase on St. Patrick’s Day in Blackrock Park were snapped up within days with over 500 children and 350 adults registering to take part. Many more turned up on the morning to queue for last minute tickets and join in the fun. While, it may not have been quite as sunny as last year, the atmosphere was even better. From 11am the crowds started arriving to check in for the Chase. DLR Parks Department had Blackrock Park looking splendid. Comhaltas, ably led by Micheál McCabe entertained the crowds with traditional Irish music from the newly refurbished bandstand, while the kids took photographs with the Leprechaun and played in the playground.
After a welcome by Blackrock Business Network (BBN) Chairperson Tom Feeney and An Cathaoirleach Cormac Devlin, Blackrock’s Lucky Leprechaun was given a short headstart before the horn blew at midday. The 800+ crowd took off in hot pursuit up the Hill by the Lake in Blackrock Park much to the amusement of the local ducks and swans.
4 minutes and 49 seconds later Blackrock A.C. star Evan Walshe crossed the finish line, with Cianán Martin and last year’s winner Alan Casey hot on his heels. Caoimhe Naughton was the first girl to cross the line, followed closely by Hannan O’Brien and last year’s winner Isobel O’Brien. First lady of the day was Karen Cox and we never found out who the first man was as the crowd surged over the finish line. Our Lucky Leprechaun was accompanied over the finish line by a sea of adoring fans!
The fun didn’t stop there. Back up in Blackrock Village, children collected their goody bags filled with surprises. There was more music from Comhaltas, face-painting, Teddy’s ice cream and a magician to wow the crowds. It was then time for the raffle with loads of great prizes generously donated by local businesses. Kids and adults eagerly checked their tickets, ignoring the wind and the rain. The day closed with Irish dancing by the Pauline Daly Dancers as the crowd then dispersed to eat in many of the local restaurants and cafés.
The BBN would like to thank all the local businesses that supported the Leprechaun Chase both financially and with spot prizes. The event raised over €1200 for three chosen charities – Our Lady’s Hospice, Blackrock, the Laura Lynn Foundation and the Community First Responders Stillorgan.
The event could not have happened without the hard work and effort over the past few months of a small organising committee led by the tireless Angela Kelly of Blackrock Tidy Towns and the BBN. In the days leading up to the event and on the day itself, we also had a massive response from the Blackrock community to help make the Leprechaun Chase so successful: the BBN committee, residents, businesses, An Garda Siochana, Carysfort school parents, local 6th class children, members of the Blackrock Athletics Club, the local parish, the Zuccini ladies, the Order of Malta, friends, family and neighbours that turned out in such great numbers to set up gazebos, man the registration desk, steward the race, fill the goody bags, hand out goody bags, feed the volunteers and musicians, comfort lost children, collect for the charities and clean up after the fun – thank you all! The day was a great display of fantastic community effort from every quarter.
Last, but not least, we must thank our Duracell-bunny Leprechaun who kept going all day, putting a smile on every child’s face, and every adult’s too!
More photos on Flickr.