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Legendary Tony Christie for Claremorris parade


CHRISTIE FOR CLAREMORRIS Legendary singer Tony Christie will be the Grand Marshal of the St Patrick's Day Parade in Claremorris.

Michael Commins

THE Grand Marshal of the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Claremorris this year will be Tony Christie, the legendary singer who enjoyed international fame with a string of chart hits in the 1970s. His grandfather came from the Claremorris area.
Tony burst on the scene in 1971 with ‘I Did What I Did For Maria,’ a song that became an international hit for the young Yorkshire man. He followed it up some months later with ‘Is This The Way To Amarillo,’ a classic that still remains one of the great party sing-along numbers to this day. In 1972, ‘Don’t Go Down To Reno’ provided Tony with another smash hit.
He was born Anthony Fitzgerald in Conisbrough, Doncaster, Yorkshire, a region to where many people from Mayo emigrated to and settled there in former decades. He will celebrate his 80th birthday on April 25 having been born in 1943.
Claremorris native, Jarlath Sweeney, says Tony has always been proud of his Irish roots. “Both his grandparents hailed from south Mayo (Claremorris and Balla). His grandfather Martin Thomas Fitzgerald (b.1890) was educated at the Claremorris Boys National School from 1902 and left Convent Road to emigrate to Yorkshire to work in the coal mines.
“Over the decades, Tony has recorded over 40 albums, 70 singles and toured all over the world and more recently put down tracks in Nashville.”
The singer is looking forward with much enthusiasm to his visit to Claremorris.
“It will be an emotional return for me as Mayo and traditional Irish music has always been close to my heart, since my early days in Yorkshire. To be the Grand Marshal for the town’s St Patrick’s Day Parade is a great honour,” said Tony.
This will be the first St Patrick’s Day Parade in Claremorris since 2019 and Nina Pilbrow, chairperson of the Parade committee, says it is a special honour to have Tony as Grand Marshal.
“We are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Tony to Claremorris and the return to his roots enables us to restore the St Patrick’s Day Parade in the annual calendar of events in a big way.
“It is great to have a celebrity like Tony to headline the event and also allow us to honour him in this way. We hope he will sing a few songs as well on the main stage.”
The parade gets underway at 3pm with entertainment on the main stage in The Square from 1pm onwards. People seeking details about entering floats and groups for the parade can contact Nina on 087 7392543.