Entertainment St Patrick's Day

Friday 19 July 2019

St Patrick's Day Parade full of soul and unscripted magic

Members of Dowtchta Whether The Weather from Cork during the parade in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Members of Dowtchta Whether The Weather from Cork during the parade in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

'Mrs Brown' abandons car to meet President as off-cuff craic abounds

Right outside the GPO, Robbie Henry from the Dublin City Waste Services just couldn't help himself and broke out into a giddy little gig of merriment.

Performers pictured as thousand's of people gather in Dublin for this year's Saint Patrick's Day Parade
Pic Stephen Collins/Collins photos
Performers pictured as thousand's of people gather in Dublin for this year's Saint Patrick's Day Parade Pic Stephen Collins/Collins photos
Grand Marshall Brendan O'Connor and St Patrick enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin . Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Clodagh Durand and Martina Collinder from Spraoi. Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Daniel Moore (5) from Knocklyon taking a closer look at a Tuba from the Eastern New Mexico Greyhound Sound Band. Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Emily Vaughan and Shauna Rouse from Artastic in Kildare. Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin . Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin . Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin . Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was from left, Sive (6) and Sean (8) Sweeney from Harolds Cross, David White from Clondalkin and Julia Mary Leo from Italy. Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was members of Transe Epresss 'Les Poupees' Geantes. Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin . Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was members of the Kilgore College Rangerettes. Pic Steve Humphreys

Dispatched to hoover up any 'accidents' in the wake of the Garda Mounted Unit on parade, Robbie's official role may not have been spectacular on paper - but he made it all his own.

And in the process, he became one of the unscripted comic stars of the show.

The crowds roared with laughter, with tourists turning to one another in sheer delight.

When even the guy in charge of the manure was up for a good time, it was bound to be makings of a good day.

As Grand Marshal of the St Patrick's Day Parade in the capital this year, Brendan O'Carroll suddenly had quite a lot to live up to. Needless to say, the 'Mrs Brown's Boys' star didn't disappoint.

Arriving in style in a classic car, and waving excitedly to everyone they knew in the crowd - which turned out to be a lot of people - the comedian and his actress wife Jennifer Gibney were the most enthusiastic occupants ever to grace the Grand Marshal's car. There was a bit of a flap when the couple actually abandoned their vehicle to physically shake hands with President Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina - in a Kelly green coat - but all was well and they took off again in a vintage puff of leaded petrol.

Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin .
Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin . Pic Steve Humphreys

Earlier, Brendan revealed how he had received an email from the president of broadcaster NBC in the States that read: "I know you guys don't do knighthoods over there, but this is probably as close as it gets."

"It certainly feels like that," said Brendan.

Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin with a selfie was from left, Hyun Jung Roh, Miok Choi and Eunkeung Kim all from South Korea. Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin with a selfie was from left, Hyun Jung Roh, Miok Choi and Eunkeung Kim all from South Korea. Pic Steve Humphreys

He had delayed a UK tour by a week to accommodate the festival and was pleased to do so, having already sold out a 2016 tour of Australia "within minutes".

"I never expected all this," said Brendan of his success, adding that his mother, Labour politician Maureen O'Carroll who passed away in 1984, would have been "blown away" by his being chosen to lead the parade.

Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin .
Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin . Pic Steve Humphreys

"I think she thought I'd end up in prison," he quipped.

Back on the parade route, a seaside breeze was blowing but altogether it was quite manageable for a St Patrick's Day.

Grand Marshall Brendan O'Connor and wife Jennifer Gibney enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin with St Patrick.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Grand Marshall Brendan O'Connor and wife Jennifer Gibney enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin with St Patrick. Pic Steve Humphreys

As always, a good vantage point was crucial - and one nimble girl had taken position on the head of one of the angels guarding the Liberator, Daniel O'Connell.

Amongst the crowd, Teresa Boland from Dublin, who came early to get a good spot, revealed how a taxi carrying a woman in labour battled through the parade route at 10.15am, heading for the Rotunda.

Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Nicole and Holly Emmert from North Carolina.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Nicole and Holly Emmert from North Carolina. Pic Steve Humphreys

"She'll get a good view of the parade from her window in the ward," said Teresa philosophically.

Brazilians Nubia Marceile and Luiz Gustavo said the event compared well with their own carnival back home. "Better," said Luiz, because there were "not so many drunk people."

Then again, it was only 11.30am.

And as the parade kicked off with a zany swirl of colour, old phone boxes, doll-like dancers and a mesmerising beat, the crowd immersed themselves thoroughly in the vista.

The theme 'Celebrate Now' was loose, so anything went.

It may not, admittedly, have been the most spectacular parade in the history of parades - but what it lacked in pyrotechnics and the ooh-and-ahh factor, it made up for in soul and attention to the finer details.

On O'Connell Street, amid a sea of green leprechauns, camera-toting tourists were clamouring to catch one in particular.

Michael McCarroll, third generation Irish from Palm Beach, Florida, was wearing a green tweed suit, his beard was a fetching shade of neon green, he had rather spooky green contact lenses, and was doling out gold coins to children from his little pot.

And he couldn't take a step without being besieged by people begging for a 'selfie'.

He once met Johnny Cash and June Carter as his leprechaun alter-ego but this was to be his last time, he said, happy to wind up the annual stunt in Dublin.

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top