Thursday, May 30, 2024

Watch: From Dublin to Dingle, St Patrick’s Day parades take to the streets of Ireland

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People lined the streets in towns and cities across Ireland and around the world to watch St Patrick’s Day parades on Sunday.

New Late Late Show presenter Patrick Kielty, the grand marshal of the national parade in Dublin, described Ireland’s national day as “the biggest party in the world”.

In Cork, thousands of people clad in green, white and orange gathered from the early morning to secure a spot for this year’s parade, which began on the South Mall at 1pm.

Some 60,000 people attended the parade, according to garda estimates.

 

Sparkly shamrock glasses framed smiling eyes and green shamrock hairbands bobbed by on heads as tens of thousands of people gathered to celebrate the 2024 St Patrick’s Day parade.

“Give the blue sky a round of applause,” radio DJ Keith Cunningham, known as KC said, MCing the event from St Patrick’s Street.

Nearly 4,000 people participated in the parade which is themed Pure Imagination for 2024.

Some 35,000 to 50,000 people were expected to attend, Marcela Whelan Kelly, event co-ordinator with Cork City Council said.

Dressed as Willy Wonka in a towering top hat and velvet suit, Lord Mayor Kieran McCarthy led the parade accompanied by the Lady Mayoress dressed in a blue and white gingham dress as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

A giant green alien waved down to the crowds from one float accompanied by more extra-terrestrial lifeforms, one in a hovering spaceship.

The Kokke family enjoying the parade in Cork city. Picture: Liz Dunphy

A 12-metre-long golden dragon was followed by dancers from the UCC Confucious Institute who waved red fans in time to beating drums and gongs.

Some people in the crowd sang along as the Barrack’s Street Band played Cork super band The Frank and Walter’s song After All under blue skies.

Groups performing in this year’s parade included the Rebel Wheelers, Cork Volunteer Centre, the Cork Puppetry Company, Sanctuary runners and the Ukrainian community choir Kalyna.

Natalie Gudin and Felipe Garcia with their dog Farinha at this afternoon's parade. Picture: Liz Dunphy
Natalie Gudin and Felipe Garcia with their dog Farinha at this afternoon’s parade. Picture: Liz Dunphy

Brazilians Natalie Gudin and Felipe Garcia who are living in Cork were at the parade with their Limerick-born dog Farinha, wrapped in a green, white and orange feather boa found discarded on the street.

“The parade is something we couldn’t miss. This is the centre of St Patrick’s Day celebrations globally. It’s such a privilege to be here,” Mr Garcia said.

Australians Caitlin Jones, Hanna Fletcher, Rachel Mackay and Bethany Rees were visiting for the St Patrick’s Day festivities from London where they are living.

Australians Caitlin Jones, Rachel Mackay, Bethany Rees and Hanna Fletcher visiting from London. Picture: Liz Dunphy
Australians Caitlin Jones, Rachel Mackay, Bethany Rees and Hanna Fletcher visiting from London. Picture: Liz Dunphy

“We’re enjoying St Patrick’s Day. None of us had been to Cork before so we thought we’d try it,” Ms Jones said.

“The Irish are so welcoming. And the Irish and the Australians get on so well.”

“The Irish and Australians have a similar happy-go-lucky attitude,” Ms Mackay said.

“We watched the rugby yesterday in the pub and then we went dancing, when The Cranberries’ song Zombie came on on the dancefloor it was a bucket list moment,” Ms Fletcher said.

These six young men from Holland said they were constantly stopping to snap pictures with people. Picture: Liz Dunphy
These six young men from Holland said they were constantly stopping to snap pictures with people. Picture: Liz Dunphy

Wearing full green suits and green shamrock-adorned ties, six young men from Holland said they had been stopped “for 200 or 300 pictures” before the parade had even started.

Ralph Van Horssen said that it is his fourth time in Cork.

“I like the culture, and the pints and the people,” he said. “It’s a nice weekend and the parade is always fun.” 

Thilo Gielis was also on his fourth visit to Cork.

“I like the culture and the people here. And it’s a good size. It’s not too big and it’s not too busy.” 

Nina O’Sullivan was at the parade with her daughter Sian and grandchildren Ellie and Penny who were visiting for the weekend from their home in Dublin.

“It’s good to be here but it’s hard for the children to see. It would be good to have viewing platforms,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

“It would be good to have a kid’s zone,” Sian added.

Representatives from the Cork Palestinian community received a standing ovation in the official parade enclosure.

“We send our love, we send our support, thank you for being here,” KC said as the group waved Palestinian flags and danced to Palestinian music.

Members of Cumann Palaistíneach na Mumhan at the 2024 Cork St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Picture: Darragh Kane
Members of Cumann Palaistíneach na Mumhan at the 2024 Cork St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Picture: Darragh Kane

A standing ovation was also given for the emergency services, as paramedics and Cork City Fire Service passed by in fire trucks and ambulances.

Floral headbands adorned women’s braided hair in the Ukrainian community choir, Kalyna.

Large sombreros shielded men’s eyes from the welcome sun as Cork’s Mexican community passed the crowds.

Women in swirling skirts danced to samba in celebration of Latin American culture.

 Diana celebrating Mexican culture in Cork for the St Patrick's Day parade. Picture: Larry Cummins
Diana celebrating Mexican culture in Cork for the St Patrick’s Day parade. Picture: Larry Cummins

And the Nigerian Edo community in Cork danced to drums and maracas wearing beaded headdresses.

The parade was a colourful celebration of Cork’s oldest and newest communities joining together and forging new bonds.

A man from the Sudanese community wore a red ‘we are Cork’ t-shirt as he waved to the crowds.

Papier-mâché puffin heads were worn by members of the Cork Environmental Forum.

And Tandem bikes from Cycling for All Cork, allowed physically impaired people to experience the pleasure of cycling.

Drumming group Batala drew the parade to a thunderous close.

In Kerry, the country’s first parade began in Dingle at 6am with a procession by the Dingle Drum & Fife band. 

In Dublin, more than 4,200 participants are taking part in the country’s flagship parade, featuring 18 performances and pageants.

To be the Patrick at the front of this parade is one of the proudest moments of my life

In a new aspect, a ‘quiet space’ has been set up near College Green for 1,000 neurodivergent people and their families which will have sensory areas and where the volume of noise from the festivities will reduce dramatically.

People out enjoying St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin this afternoon. Picture: Arthur Carron/Collins Photos
People out enjoying St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin this afternoon. Picture: Arthur Carron/Collins Photos

A Festival Quarter at Collins Barracks is open again from noon to 6pm on Sunday, with music, food stalls and games for children.

The parade kicked off at Parnell Square at 12pm and proceeded through the heart of the city.

The theme of this year’s parade is ‘spreach’, or ‘spark’ in Irish.

Dloats on Dame Street in Dublin. Picture: Leon Farrell/© RollingNews.ie
Dloats on Dame Street in Dublin. Picture: Leon Farrell/© RollingNews.ie

Among the participants are a group examining the theme and the circular economy, a showpiece called ‘Dublin Seagulls’, as well as 14 marching bands from across Ireland, North America and France.

The Chicago River is dyed green for St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the US (Erin Hooley/AP)

Kielty said that as a man called Patrick, who is from Downpatrick in Co Down, and who attended St Patrick’s School, he was “the proudest man in Ireland”.

The TV presenter said that it was “a massive honour” to be the grand marshal, adding it was “emotional” for him.

“To be the Patrick at the front of this parade is one of the proudest moments of my life.”

Patrick Kielty meets Irish wolfhound Ruari from the Dublin fire service as they prepare to take part in the St. Patrick's Day parade Picture: Charles McQuillan/Getty
Patrick Kielty meets Irish wolfhound Ruari from the Dublin fire service as they prepare to take part in the St. Patrick’s Day parade Picture: Charles McQuillan/Getty

“I think St Patrick’s Day is so important to people because it gives us all a chance to share in something, it brings a lot of people together. I think sometimes here we maybe take it for granted,” he said. 

“As someone who has lived abroad and knows what that day means to so many people who are longing for a connection to their lives back home, that’s what it’s about.”

“Especially when you come from the North, growing up, St Patrick’s grave was at the Church of Ireland, basically everything that used to happen through some type of binary prism.

A performer dressed as St Patrick poses with spectators during the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin in 2023 (PA)

“The idea of we’re now in a position where we can actually share these things, I think that’s why today is so important.”

Asked will he be able to enjoy the day with so much pressure on him, he said: “Let’s be very very clear, there’s definitely going to be a lot of fun squeezed out of this.

“This is normally like my second birthday, so we will definitely be celebrating to the max.”

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