McAleese pays tribute to volunteers
President Mary McAleese has paid tribute to volunteers who "fly the flag" for Ireland all year round.
"They are the backbone of our country and they are its heart and soul," Mrs McAleese said in her St Patrick's Day statement.
"On March 17, these volunteers will mobilise under the banner of St Patrick in a national and international showcase of the indomitable Irish at their very best," she said.
Meanwhile, in their St Patrick's Day message, the Catholic bishops reminded emigrants that the national saint himself was a migrant.
"St Patrick's Day, a holy day of obligation for the Catholic faithful, is celebrated by Irish people at home and abroad. The plight of Patrick, himself a migrant, has been faced by many Irish people who have struggled to live and integrate into new cultures," the message said.