Killarney has been welcoming visitors from the United States of America for decades. Approximately half a million visitors from the USA come to the South West region of Ireland each year. The majority of these include Killarney on their itinerary. To mark this long association, Killarney hosts a day long celebration of all things American on the 4th of July. In 2014, the Killarney Chamber Of Tourism & Commerce decided to recognise this special relationship by organising a 4th of July celebration in the town. The day long celebration has a variety of events to mark the big day. Festivities start early at 7am with The Morning Reveille and the Raising of the Flags at Killarney Town Hall. The main streets of the town are closed to traffic to facilitate a street party during the afternoon. Music, song and dance fill the streets with plenty entertainment for all the family. A 4th of July celebration would not be complete without a barbecue – make sure to sample some of the sizzling treats on offer on the day at the Charity BBQ event.
4th of July Parade
The centrepiece of the 4th of July events is the evening’s Big Parade through the streets of Killarney. American themed floats, Disney characters and an ensemble of wild west shooters and dancers entertain the crowds. A late night street party follows the parade before the day’s proceedings come to an end with a spectacular fireworks display.
The 4th of July celebration also encompasses other associated events such as the open air cinema night at Killarney House & Gardens. All American movies such as Top Gun and Back to the Future feature in the spectacular surroundings of Killarney House. The venue itself has a long association with the USA, having previously been owned by a syndicate of American investors.
In the days before guidebooks and Google maps, providing directions to lost American tourists was a rite of passage for youngsters growing up in Killarney. The mix of nationalities visiting Killarney has changed much over recent decades with increasing numbers from Britain and Europe visiting every year.
Although American visitors may no longer be the most dominant in terms of numbers, the affinity and affection of the town towards the USA has endured. The 4th of July celebration is testament to this and it has become an established event in the calendar of Killarney’s busy summer season.
Find out more on the Killarney 4th of July celebrations Facebook page.
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