This year’s St Patrick’s Day parade will be led by five-time Olympian Rob Heffernan.
The proud Corkonian and athlete has been announced as the Grand Marshal for this year’s festivities.
Now retired, the race walker is the only Irish male athlete to hold a medal from three major championships- World, European and the Olympics.
“I am very proud to be from Ireland but even prouder to be from Cork,” Mr Heffernan said. “Throughout my sporting career, I have always promoted how wonderful Cork is and I am very honoured to be the Grand Marshal of the Cork St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year.”
Rob was crowned World 50km Race Walking Championship in Moscow in 2013 becoming Ireland’s third ever gold medallist at World Championship level.
He won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, and in 2016 he became the first athlete to represent Ireland in five Olympic Games having competed at the Olympics in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.
“We are delighted that Rob is bringing his ‘Story of Cork’ to this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” Lord Mayor Mick Finn.
“We are immensely proud to be the hometown of Ireland’s only five-time Olympian and medallist. His three golds at World Championship level, his European successes and his multiple national records for race-walking bring such pride to the city he so obviously loves.
“I look forward to welcoming Rob and his family. On the day when Ireland is celebrated the world over, it is fitting that Cork celebrates the story of one of our most internationally successful citizens.”
Crowds of 50,000 people are expected to visit Cork for the annual St Patrick’s Festival this March.
The theme of this year’s festival, from March 15 to the 18, is ‘Stories of Cork’ The parade, on Sunday, March 17, will involve up to 3,000 participants, with some entrants coming from as far away as the United States.
Commissions by local arts organisations, such as Cork Community Art Link and Dowtcha Puppets, plus national groups, such as Spraoi, Buí Bolg and LuxE, are in progress. They are creating innovative floats for the parade.