Just when you think its safe to assume that nothing new could be thought of for a float parade its New Years Day again and the Wellie Race is upon us.

The 2003 parade will long live in the memory of those who witnessed it. The range, imagination and pure genius that went into the parade were unbelievable.

More about that in a moment but first let us recap on the race. The old course was in benign form this year as the weather was surprisingly mild and there was no rain. The defending champions Billy O Neill and Eilish Hayes were determined to keep a grip on their respective titles but the handicapping disadvantage previous winners are given was going to make it difficult. The race turned out to be a hard fought contest with over 350 runners and walkers setting off. Even race personality Paul Collins was tempted to run for the pride of the Premier but a size 13 Wellie could not be found. Both Billy and Eilish however need not have feared their pure athleticism shone through and were both victorious Eilish for the third year in a row, surpassing the Late Mary O Shea’s record of three wins over five years. Hopefully both will return next year to defend their titles again.

The Official 2003 Wellington Race result was:

Mens Race

1. Billy O Neill

2. Dennis O Sullivan

3. Damien Fogarty

4. Ross Alexander

5. Martin Holohan

6. Jim Healy

7. William Brennan

8. Eamon Maher

9. Joe Meagher

10. John O Brien

Ladies Race

1. Eilish Hayes

2. Lucia Brennan

3. Janette Boran

4. Cheryn Stanley

5. Breda Roche

6. Catherine Ring

7. Elizabeth Shore

8. Siobhan Bollard

9. Geraldine Roche

10. Rita Wilson

Veteran Men

1. Marty Kelly

2. Martin Boran

3. John Gorman

Senior Ladies

1. Margaret Dillon

2. Bernie Fitzpatrick

3. Majella Deavey

Best Dressed Walker

Tommy O Neill


Now in the parade the major floats really outdid one another this year. The judges faced an impossible task. For me there was nothing between the top five floats and having talked with the judges they agreed. Treasure Island a parody on the R.T.E. team challenge game won with blue team versus yellow all suitable attired in yellow and blue silage bags. As the caption said “All you need when you need it under a (palm) tree in Firoda”. Runners up the Powley Cabinet featured government ministers either up to no good ie Minister for health in a coffin because he was a “dead loss”, or indulging in that ancient old tacit of attempting to bribe the judges with bottles and cigars?? The third place float certainly brought the loudest cheer from the huge crowd assembled on the Square with their enactment of the mooning scene from the blockbuster film Braveheart. Fortunately they spared us a little by having underwear with letters on each cheek which when lined up together spelled “BraveArse”, why the arts council don’t sponsor us I’ll never know why? The tone and standard of the parade was set by the first major float past the reviewing stand which featured Daniel O Donnell’s wedding from his stag night when he was tied to a pole in his underwear to the reception where only tea was served to the Bridal Suite, need I say more. The fifth place float featured a matchmaker measuring the local women for the Skehana bachelors. The “Girls” were meticulously measured from head to toe and elsewhere to ensure they were eligible and suitable for the afore mentioned boys.

The groups of 2-5 really threw up some spectacular entrants as well with committee members featuring in the first two. Sean Stone entered Harry Potters flying car, entitled Harry Potter and his philosopher Mr Stone!! The float was a pure feat of mechanics with the car truly flying, a fantastic entrant and a worthy winner. Tom Cody was second with an impressive entrant on time and time keeping. In third place in this section we saw some dubious police tactics being displayed by the Wellie Police.

The individual contest was really a tale of two spikes, with both Willie Joe and Michael Brannigan battling it out over the theme of the new Dublin monument. Both assembled impressive structures, which could have been very cost effective had Dublin City Councillors approached our boys. Willie Joe’s effort was viewed as the best and won out this year, no doubt Michael will be back next year. Jungle Joe came third with his impersonation of a Reindeer Hunter.

The kids entrants were also of a high standard this year with a range of topics covered from tribunals which won the major category followed by Guys and Brolls, Fr Ted and friends won the group section followed by Tiger Woods And Padraig Harrington doing battle o the 18th Green of the new Castlecomer Golf Club, Charlie’s (Haughey) Angels also featured in this section. Dara Rothwell paying tribute to the late Richard Harris by dressing up as Professor Dumbledore from Harry Potter won the Individual childrens float, the Kilkenny Super Cat came second in this section.

So another chapter of the Wellie Race chapter has been written, the dust has settled on our most successful venture yet. To all who made this possible we say a heart felt thank you, we could not have done it with out you all.

Paul Brophy Chairman.


The Castlecomer International Wellie Race - Every New Years Day!