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Limerick St. Patrick's Festival featured the giant st. Patricks day parade. Over 80, 000 people lined the streets to watch the Spring Themed parade makes its way along O'Connell St. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.

Limerick St. Patrick's Festival featured the giant st. Patricks day parade. Over 80, 000 people lined the streets to watch the Spring Themed parade makes its way along O'Connell St. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.

Alan Place/fusionshooters

1/3/2015 St Patrick's Day Parade, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Enjoying the noise in Boyle Owen Lavin from Geevagh Co. Sligo covers his ears.
Photo Brian Farrell

1/3/2015 St Patrick's Day Parade, Boyle, Co. Roscommon Enjoying the noise in Boyle Owen Lavin from Geevagh Co. Sligo covers his ears. Photo Brian Farrell

Brian Farrell

Members of Sligo-Leitrim Filipino association performing in the St. Patricks Day Parade, Stephens St., Sligo, yesterday.
Photo: James Connolly

Members of Sligo-Leitrim Filipino association performing in the St. Patricks Day Parade, Stephens St., Sligo, yesterday. Photo: James Connolly

James Connolly

17/03/2015. St Patricks Day Parade in Waterford 2015. Pictured at the St Patricks Day Parade at Waterford City are "Spraoi" performers as explorers. Picture: Patrick Browne

17/03/2015. St Patricks Day Parade in Waterford 2015. Pictured at the St Patricks Day Parade at Waterford City are "Spraoi" performers as explorers. Picture: Patrick Browne

Saint Patrick was referee for O'Loughlin Gaels GAA float during the St Patrick's Day Parade in Kilkenny City. Photo: Pat Moore.

Saint Patrick was referee for O'Loughlin Gaels GAA float during the St Patrick's Day Parade in Kilkenny City. Photo: Pat Moore.

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Limerick St. Patrick's Festival featured the giant st. Patricks day parade. Over 80, 000 people lined the streets to watch the Spring Themed parade makes its way along O'Connell St. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.

LEPRECHAUNS, samba dancers, giant snakes and a small army of Disney's Princess Elsas combined with glorious spring sunshine for a triumphant St Patrick's Day.

Parades nationwide hailed record crowds as the soaring number of four-day St Patrick's Day festivals helped deliver what Fáilte Ireland described as "a very welcome increase in overseas visitor numbers".

Most parades enjoyed their best weather in years - a factor hailed by organisers as critical to ensuring a large turnout nationwide.

Limerick laid claim to one of the biggest parades outside Dublin with almost 80,000 people packing the Treaty City.

Limerick's parade and festival boasted the theme of 'Spring' with Mayor Councillor Kevin Sheahan admitting they were thrilled by the large parade turnout .

"The Limerick St Patrick's Festival is now one of the biggest in Ireland. It is important that Limerick continues to promote its cultural diversity," he said.

In Cork, broadcaster and rugby pundit George Hook admitted he was "the proudest Irishman on the entire planet" to serve as Grand Marshal for the parade in his native city.

More than 60,000 people thronged Cork city centre for the 3,000-entrant parade.

Cork Person of the Year and campaigner for abuse victims' rights Louise O'Keeffe served as Grand Marshal for the Bandon parade which was one of 18 parades around the county.

In Fermoy, the county champion hurlers took pride of place as the organisers hailed their biggest parade attendance in over 30 years.

Meanwhile, Ballincollig clinched the Guinness world record for the greatest number of Disney's Princess Elsas in one place, with a turnout of 771.

History was also made in the Waterford town of Portlaw, where sunshine blessed their resurrection of the local St Patrick's Day parade after 30 years.

"It was something we felt had to be done and we're just delighted with the response," organiser Mary Butler said.

Waterford city, the first place in Ireland to declare March 17 a national holiday, attracted over 40,000 people for its parade where 'Voice of Ireland' contestant Ashley Loftus from Dunmore East was the star of the event.

Portlaoise's parade attracted almost 6,000 fans.

In Galway, 'Multiculturalism' was the theme of the parade which marked the 112th anniversary of the city's first St Patrick's Day event.

The parade was led by Little John Nee and involved almost 80 community groups, sports clubs and bands as Galway, with a little help from theatre group Macnas, underlined local credentials for the 2020 European Capital of Culture.

Dundalk's parade adopted a new route and boasted the theme of 'Myth, Magic and Miracles', with the element of sporting magic provided by Grand Marshal Stephen Kenny, who led Dundalk FC to the Airtricity League title last season.

In Kerry, Dingle celebrated Ireland's earliest St Patrick's Day parade with a 6am start, though the biggest parades were in Killarney and Tralee.

In Kilkenny, the parade proved the climax of the Marble City's third annual Trad Fest, a four-day festival dedicated to traditional Irish music, song and dance. After the 1pm parade, revellers were treated to an open-air concert in Kilkenny Castle grounds by Sharon Shannon and the Steve Cooney Trio.

Irish Independent