Wednesday 20 November 2019

Sun set to shine as millions get ready to party for St Patrick's Day

St Patrick at the Duboyne parade yesterday. Photo: Seamus Farrelly
St Patrick at the Duboyne parade yesterday. Photo: Seamus Farrelly

Greg Harkin

Bright spring weather should help this St Patrick's Day to be the best in years with tourism bosses hopeful the annual celebration of all things Irish could draw in hundreds of thousands of extra tourists this year.

Met Éireann is predicting temperatures of between 9C and 12C and bright sunny spells for much of the country, with just the chance of a light shower in Leinster and along the south coast in the afternoon.

Faye Gannon (6) at the launch of 'Operation Shamrock' which gets under way with the delivery of shamrock this week. Proceeds from the sale of Shamrock will go to the Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland. Photo: Andrew Downes
Faye Gannon (6) at the launch of 'Operation Shamrock' which gets under way with the delivery of shamrock this week. Proceeds from the sale of Shamrock will go to the Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland. Photo: Andrew Downes

Fáilte Ireland has flown in 60 travel journalists from around the globe to enjoy the festivities across the country.

Hundreds of events are taking place today and tomorrow nationwide, from small parish parades to the annual spectacular of the St Patrick's Day Festival in Dublin.

Comedian Brendan O'Carroll is the Grand Marshal of the capital's parade, which draws hundreds of thousands of spectators.

This year's 'Celebrate Now!' themed parade will make its way from Parnell Square to St Patrick's Cathedral with magical floats, giant puppets and marching bands.

In the Midlands, Mullingar is the place to be tomorrow as four days of festivities close with its annual parade, featuring traditional harpists.

If you're looking for something different, then you can celebrate not just one but two Irish legends over the St Patrick's Day holidays with a trip to Killaloe/Ballina on the Clare/Tipperary border for the annual Féile Brian Ború .

Jack Healy and Amber Cheval taking part in the St Patrick's Festival Ceílí Mór on Main Street, Killarney, yesterday Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan
Jack Healy and Amber Cheval taking part in the St Patrick's Festival Ceílí Mór on Main Street, Killarney, yesterday Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

Visitors can check out the life and times of the last High King of Ireland at the Brian Ború Heritage Centre in lakeside Killaloe or take a cruise on Lough Derg and look for the reputed remains of Brian Ború's ancient fort.

In Skerries, the original landing of our patron saint will be enacted as St Patrick will arrive ashore in a rowing boat, with loads of free family activities planned throughout the day.

Cork is also enjoying a four-day-long festival culminating in parades throughout the county and a main parade through the city tomorrow, whilst similar extended festivals are already under way in Kilkenny with its TradFest and in Limerick, where the international band festival was in full swing last night.

Galway is the place to be for fans of the arts and fun.

Zemphira Akoke Connolly (3) looking up at Lady Longbottom from the Wobbly Circus at the St. Patrick's Festival Family Big Day Out for all the family on Merrion Square yesterday. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Zemphira Akoke Connolly (3) looking up at Lady Longbottom from the Wobbly Circus at the St. Patrick's Festival Family Big Day Out for all the family on Merrion Square yesterday. Photo: Fergal Phillips

This year's parade highlights include Galway Arts Centre, Colours Street Theatre, An Taibhdhearc Theatre and Galway Theatre Festival with community groups such as Foróige, GAA clubs, Amnesty International and The Russian Culture Club creating a kaleidoscope of Galway's rich mix of cultural and ethnic diversity.

The parade will come to a grand finale with local heroes Macnas presenting their youth ensemble before Gamelan na Gaillimhe sound the end of the parade with their Indonesian gongs.

In Donegal, the main parade will be in Letterkenny where tourism chiefs have been keen to advertise the bus times from Dublin for those wanting to escape the capital.

There are also spectacular parades planned for Drogheda, Dundalk, Derry, Downpatrick, Cavan, Navan and Ennis.

Ciara Sugrue, head of international publicity with Fáilte Ireland, said the 60 invited journalists would be at various locations in Ireland to enjoy it all.

"The St Patrick's Festival gives Irish tourism a compelling reason to invite and host key foreign media to visit Ireland, absorb and be a part of the atmosphere and to enthuse about Ireland in their coverage," she said.

Roads closures in the capital

The Dublin city parade will get under way at midday, departing from Parnell Square, on to O'Connell Street and Westmoreland Street, down Dame Street and Lord Edward Street and through to Patrick Street, before finishing up past St Patrick's Cathedral.

There will be no parking along the route of the parade from 8pm on Monday. Western Way to Fredrick Street North will close from 8pm on Monday until 2.30pm on Tuesday.

Dominick Street Upper, Mountjoy Street, Middle, Mountjoy Street, Palmerston Place, St Mary's Place North, Granby Row, Parnell Square North and East, part of O'Connell Street and O'Connell Bridge, Westmoreland Street, College Green, Dame Street, Lord Edward Street, Christchurch Place and Nicholas Street will close from 5am to 5pm. Brian Byrne

Irish Independent

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