World boxing champion and Olympic medal hopeful Katie Taylor has been confirmed as Grand Marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival Parade!
Katie was chosen by Festival organisers for her ‘significant contribution to Irish sport and culture’ and will lead the Festival Parade onMarch 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 and Katie follows in the footsteps of sporting legends Packie Bonner, Eamonn Coghlan and legendary GAA commentator Mícheál Ó’ Muircheartaigh, who have all been honoured with the title in previous years.
Last year, Ms Taylor, was a guest of President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama (herself a former boxer) at a special St Patrick’s Day celebration at the White House .
Speaking about the announcement, Katie said, “I was thrilled to be asked to be Grand Marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival Parade, it’s such a great honour. I’m always proud to represent Ireland but it’s usually in a boxing ring so this will be a completely different experience for me! The Parade is always great fun and I’m really looking forward to being involved in the day.”
St. Patrick’s Festival CEO Susan Kirby, said Katie was the ideal choice to be the Parade Grand Marshal, “Katie is a talented and hard-working athlete and a fantastic ambassador for the country as we celebrate our national holiday. We are delighted that Katie is on board for this year’s Parade and hope that she has a wonderful time as Grand Marshal.”
Tommy Murphy, President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA), says the announcement is wonderful news for the association as it celebrates its centenary year, “The athletes of the IABA have enjoyed phenomenal success in recent years and it is a tremendous honour that Katie, our triple world champion, will be leading the St. Patrick’s Festival Parade.”
Ireland’s literary heritage will be celebrated throughout the Festival and, for the first time ever, a short story will be the inspiration behind the Festival Parade. ‘Brilliant,’ by Booker-prize winning author Roddy Doyle is a fun and uplifting short story about banishing the black dog of depression over Dublin and getting the city’s funny bone back. The short story was used as the inspiration for the Parade to honour Dublin’s designation as UNESCO City of Literature. Ireland’s leading pageant companies will interpret different chapters of the story using their own inimitable style, with Katie leading the way along the Parade Route.
A native of Co. Wicklow, 24-year-old Katie Taylor began her boxing career in 1998 and in September 2010 achieved her 100th career win with her third successive World title at the 2010 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship. Katie comes from a boxing family, her father Pete Taylor is Katie’s coach and manager and is himself the 1986 Irish Senior Light Heavyweight Champion boxer, and her mother is a boxing referee.