Irish communities along the coast have been preparing for four days of celebrations in honour of Ireland's patron, St Patrick. However, some of the official events have been cancelled amid fears concerning the coronavirus (Covid-19). The two biggest events were due to take place on Saturday in Torremolinos and Benalmádena from 1pm. Organised by The Irish Association Spain, both events were cancelled this week due to the threat of spreading the coronavirus.
President Terry McKinley said that the decision had been taken because the "risk was considered too high".
The Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in Benalmádena were due to coincide with the second edition of the International Celtic Festival. The festival, which promotes traditional music and dance, has also been cancelled. Organiser Father Gerard Daly said the hotel where the event was to be staged had made the decision as a precautionary measure.
Father Daly said that he would go ahead with two special masses celebrating St Patrick on Sunday 15 and Tuesday 17 March at 1.30pm in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Arroyo de la Miel. Members of the church are due to hold a St Patrick's Day dinner in Eduardos Restaurant in Benalmádena on Monday at 7.30pm, while on Tuesday, an afternoon of Irish food and traditional entertainment is planned in the church square in Arroyo de la Miel from midday. Further information about these events can be obtained from Father Gerard at the church in Arroyo de la Miel.
The Irish community in Montemar also pledged on Thursday that it would go ahead with plans to celebrate The Apostle of Ireland on Tuesday. Known as 'Little Ireland', many of the Irish bars in the area are due to present live entertainment and traditional food throughout the day.
Bar owner Tara Talon said, "Our main concern is that people won't come over. But all of the bars here will be celebrating St Patrick as normal."