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  Jim Mohan

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St. Louis--There will be plenty of music, marchers, and lots and lots of green at the 26th annual Ancient Order of Hibernians Saint Patrick's Day Parade, Tuesday, March 17. The big annual Irish event kicks off at 11:30 a.m (new time due to hwy construction efforts) on the saint's feast day, in one of St. Louis’ oldest Irish neighborhoods.


Over 100 units will be parading including the McBride Alumni and the St. Mary’s High School Marching Band.  There will also be floats galore featuring Irish dancing and salutes to Irish history and culture from the Mayer and O'Faolain schools of Irish Dance, St. James the Greater Catholic Church and the St. Louis Gaelic Athletics Club. Leading off the parade will be the Ancient Order of Hibernians Irish War Pipers.  Following them will be the AOH Honor Guard carrying flags from Irish history.


Like traditional parades held in the Emerald Isle on Saint Patrick's feast day, a good portion of St. Louis' Irish American community are marching as clans under their family crests and banners including the Murphys, the Riordans, the McDermotts and the Doughertys among others.


Prizes are given for Best Float, Best Irish Heritage theme, Best Family Clan and Best Hibernian


Float.  The AOH is also sponsoring a contest for the best decorated house on the parade route (Tamm Avenue).


The 2009 AOH Saint Patrick's Day Parade's Grand Marshal is Fr Jim Byrnes, selected by parade organizers in recognition of his many years of service to the Catholic community and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.


Father Byrnes in addition to serving has pastor to a number of St. Louis parishes, has served as director of Catholic Deaf Ministry, which ministers to the deaf and hard of hearing of the St. Louis community. He also has been heavily involved in the Life Teen Program, developing the St. Louis program into one of the largest in Missouri. He currently serves as chaplain of the Father Tim Dempsey AOH Division 1 and as the State AOH Chaplain of Missouri.


Father Byrnes said he was humbled by his selection.  “I am truly honored and grateful at this time of my priesthood to be recognized for my humble service to the Hibernians” he said. “ My hope is the same as the AOH brothers and LAOH sisters who serve on the parade committee, namely to continue to provide a fun, family friendly event in which everyone can honor Saint Patrick, the glorious apostle of Ireland, and the contributions of both Irish and Irish-Americans have made throughout the years.”


As in previous years St. Louis area firefighters and law enforcement officers will be recognized during the Hibernian parade. The 2008 distinguished honorees are Lt. James Whyte of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, St. Louis County Patrolman Jacob Maechling, St. Louis City Firefighter Leo Kuehner, St. Louis County Fire Chief Chuck Coyne. Also being honored are labor leader Dick Kellett, of Pipe Fitters Local 562, and civic leader Lou Hamilton, of Hamilton and Associates.


The AOH parades passes through one of St. Louis' oldest Irish neighborhoods in the Clayton/Tamm (Dogtown) area of the city on the south side.  Due to construction on I-64 (Hwy 40), the route of the parade has been modified this year. Parade units will assemble on the north side of Oakland Ave. on the east and west sides of Tamm Ave. The units will travel south on Tamm Avenue, past historic St. James the Greater Catholic Church, and disperse at Lloyd Avenue.



The parade, sponsored by the St. Louis City and County Boards of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, was created in 1984 to highlight the many contributions of the Irish people to America.


Also in the interest of public safety, all glass containers will be banned. Police officials will ticket illegally parked vehicles and also will be checking for underage drinking in the Clayton-Tamm area.  All business establishments in the neighborhood will close at 8:00 p.m.




You can support the Hibernians and Put Your Clan or Company's name on the parade route by Adopting a Barricade - CLICK HERE for the applicaion form - (we must have the application in hand by March 9)



Dogtown You Tube videos from past parades








Dogtown Irish Dancers

Won't be in St Louis for the parade this year? Check out St. Patrick's Day in other parts of the country