Monday 26 September 2016

New Irish add welcome dimension to feast day

Published 18/03/2016 | 02:30

James Kerr (five months) and his mother Nikki Kerr from Omagh, Co Tyrone, watching the parade. Photo: Steve Humphreys
James Kerr (five months) and his mother Nikki Kerr from Omagh, Co Tyrone, watching the parade. Photo: Steve Humphreys

What was heartening about the St Patrick's Day parades across the country yesterday was the number of new Irish participating.

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The parades can become a tad jaded as years pass by for those who have attended them since they were knee-high to a grasshopper.

Now the St Patrick's Festival is an important date on the calendar for our tourist industry, with visitors travelling from around the world to be in Ireland on our national day.

On the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, March 17 also become an important part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. The Dublin parade also served as a logistical dress rehearsal for gardaí and organisers for the Centenary Parade on Easter Sunday.

Elsewhere, parades big and small made their way through cities, towns and villages around our nation. Community groups and children marched. It was striking to see how those whose roots are set in other countries participated with gusto. Those who have made this country their new home see our patron saint's feast day as an opportunity to express their Irishness, adding a welcome dimension to the celebrations.

Irish Independent

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