In Cabo Roig, the first sign of summer arriving is not the swallows returning from their winter migration but the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Of course, on that day everybody is Irish, no matter where they are from.

So, after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic and the weather, Cabo Roig’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade returned for 2023. From the excitement and run-away success of the very first Parade in 2011, last Friday we finally got to celebrate the tenth running of Spain’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

This year, the parade returned to its roots, with the event taking place along the Cabo Roig Strip, mid afternoon, on the day itself where, after three years of disappointment and restrictions, there were no such frustrations as the organising committee set about making it the biggest and best yet as, once again, Cabo Roig was finally made ready for a grand day of fun and festivities.

Although the parade no longer figures in the world’s top thirty, according to local police, there were still well over 10,000 people crammed into local streets and bars, as the event was led off by the excellent Torrevieja Pipes and Drums.

As one previous organiser told me “we put them at the front every year because they know the route and they know the pace that the parade should take,” but those of us that have seen a few know that it is much more than that. They set the standard that the following troupes and comparsas endeavour to meet, below which they would not dare to fall on such an important day.

The bikers and classic cars did their traditional lap of honour after which the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums, followed by The Deputy Mayor and a handful of Ciudadanos councillors, joined one of Donegal’s all-time heroes, 1992 All-Ireland-winning captain, Anthony Molloy, as guest of honour and Grand Marshal at the front of the parade.

Irish music blared out from every bar as large crowds filled the entire route with children of all ages from Footwork and Totally Dance Studios perform traditional dance as the crowd clapped along in time.

As a lot of green energy ran through Cabo Roig, there were 20 different nationalities included in the the two-hour parade with over 20 groups, ranging from floats, dancing groups, bands, stilt walkers, drummers and Mickey Mouse cartoon characters. Particularly colourful were the many companies of comparsas with their wonderful plumed costumes, as they too danced along the route to the accompaniment of loud applause from the crowded pavements.

There was also a large contingent of ex-Irish Army veterans marching along in time, followed by drummers and musicians representing the commercial centre, Zenia Boulevard and many of the local Irish bars.

Earlier in the day in Torrevieja, there was a service in the Parish Church, which was followed by the raising of the Irish flag and the national anthem, after which a group of women performed a typical Irish dance.

The ceremony was attended by the Torrevieja mayor, Eduardo Dolon, the parish priest, Manuel Martínez Rocamora, as well as numerous Irish residents in Torrevieja. The flag raising was carried out by retired County Mayo councillor, Frank Durcan.