The new Corkonians preparing for St Patrick's Day parade

The new Corkonians preparing for St Patrick's Day parade
The Mexican Community at the 2016 Cork St Patrick’s Festival Parade. Pic Darragh Kane

CORK's Mexican community is set to bring music, dancing and colour to next week's St Patrick's Day parade.

More than a dozen dancers are set to don traditional outfits, joining the 3,000 other entrants in the parade. Grand marshal Rachel Allen will lead community, sports and art groups next Friday, with thousands expected to attend.

The Mexican community are marking their third entry to the parade, with children as young as four set to march with the dancers.

Celina Gamez is among those set to take part in the parade.

She said the group decided to get involved as Cork's Mexican population grew in recent years.

"This year, we will have thirteen dancing and, if the weather is good, maybe 17 adults and 15 kids aged between four and eight walking too.

Some of us will carry a banner and wave, but there will be lots of costumes, music and dancing.

"We were quite a small group until maybe three years ago. Now, we have a lot of people doing PhDs in UCC and working in Amazon or Apple."

Ms Gamez has been in Cork for fifteen years.

Originally from Mexico City, she said the Mexican community in Cork has roots all over Mexico.

They first marched in the St Patrick's Day parade in 2015, with this year set to be their third appearance.

"We would say every year that we had to get involved," she said.

"When the community started to grow, we decided to do something about it so we applied and we got in.

"We got some traditional costumes shipped from Mexico and that was that."

The group has gone down very well in recent years, with their colourful costumes and traditional dancing catching the eye alongside many of the other international entrants to the parade.

Ms Gamez said that Cork has been very open to the community.

"In general, settling in Ireland has been quite smooth. People in Cork are warm and kind.

"They like to ask about our costumes and our dancing and that has made things a lot easier."

It has gotten easier as more Mexicans arrived in Cork too, she added.

"I think some of us struggled with the weather and maybe the food.

"It is a lot easier now than it was three or four years ago. A lot of supermarkets stock more food that we can eat and because we have a bigger community, you have more people to meet up with and speak Spanish with."

Ms Gamez said that the group meets a few times a year, marking events like Mexico's Independence Day every September, as well as Christmas and the Day of the Dead.

"These are particularly important when it comes to showing the children a part of Mexico that they are missing," she said.

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