Entertainment St Patrick's Day

Monday 26 September 2016

St Patrick's Day 2016: 'I don't know if it's the sunshine but this year seems better than ever'

Meadhbh McGrath and Sasha Brady

Published 17/03/2016 | 15:41

Josh Mc Grath, Dunboyne gets a bird's-eye view of the St Patrick's Festival Parade from the Daniel O' Connell monument in Dublin. Photo : Frank Mc Grath
Josh Mc Grath, Dunboyne gets a bird's-eye view of the St Patrick's Festival Parade from the Daniel O' Connell monument in Dublin. Photo : Frank Mc Grath
The crowd waits for the start of the St Patrick's Day parade on the streets of Dublin. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2016. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Members of the Berkeley Police and Fire departments march in the 2016 Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade
The crowd waits for the start of the St Patrick's Day parade on the streets of Dublin. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2016. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
People watch the parade St. Patrick's day in Dublin, Ireland March 17, 2016 REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Front to back: Sunnah Rasheed, Natalie Wilder, Sommer Ullrick from Washington at St Patrick's Day Parade. Photo: Steve Humphreys.

The good weather brought out the positive energy as locals and tourists alike lined the streets of Dublin to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

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It was all smiles in Dublin as early morning clouds cleared to give a sunny, mild day. The good weather brought out a festive atmosphere as a 500,000-strong crowd thronged the streets to see the national parade make its way through the city.

After President Higgins’ rousing speech, disability rights campaigner Joanne O’Riordan led the parade from Parnell Square to St Patrick's Cathedral. At 19, she is the youngest person ever to fulfill the role of Grand Marshal.

"[Joanne] is the personification of youth and imagination which is what we’re celebrating," said Susan Kirby, CEO of the St Patrick's Day Festival, ahead of Thursday's festivities.

The crowd waits for the start of the St Patrick's Day parade on the streets of Dublin. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2016. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The crowd waits for the start of the St Patrick's Day parade on the streets of Dublin. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2016. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

With a theme focused on imagination and creativity, it was a particularly bright and colourful parade that kept the crowd entertained.

Waterford-based theatre company Spraoi added some imagination with ‘Home, Above and Below’, their vision of housing for all, while the streets exploded with colour with the arrival of Cork’s Dowtcha Puppets - a stable of massive rabbits, elephants, and even the villains of the day, snakes, who stirred up plenty of excitement among younger members of the audience.

"I don't know if it was the sunshine or what but this year seemed better than ever," said Achille Martone (26) from Dublin.

"The energy was really positive. I didn't see any trouble. I brought my two nephews along and they were engaged in the parade from start to finish."

Members of the Berkeley Police and Fire departments march in the 2016 Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade
Members of the Berkeley Police and Fire departments march in the 2016 Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade

One of the biggest cheers of the afternoon came for the Berkeley Police and Fire Departments, who arrived in from California to honour the victims and survivors of the Berkeley balcony collapse.

A spokesperson for An Garda Siochana said that no incidents have been reported: "There's been no trouble reported so far. Everything seems to have gone well. People are in good spirits."

More than 80,000 spectators soaked up the spring sunshine and carnival atmosphere of Ireland’s largest regional St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Limerick City.

Grand Marshal, local actor Myles Breen, led more than 4,000 participants from 100 different community groups, companies, bands and sports clubs from across Limerick and Ireland for the parade.

Participants take part in the St Patrick's Day parade on the streets of Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2016
Participants take part in the St Patrick's Day parade on the streets of Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2016

Among the participants in Limerick's celebrations were pop duo Jedward and Fidget Feet Ariel Dance Company which performed a crane show over the city centre streets.

Cork didn't have a Grand Marshal leading the Rebel County's parade. Instead, seven actors performed as the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation and re-enacted scenes from the Easter Rising.

Grada confirmed that over 50,000 people took to the street's of Cork for Thursday's parade.

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