Sunday 20 January 2019

'Whatever comes, we'll suffer with smiles on our faces' - St Patrick's Day parade Grand Marshal Liam Cunningham ready for 'Son of the Beast'

'If you were the type of person to let the weather get you down, you could spend a long time depressed here'

Jason Kennedy

Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham isn't going to let any bad weather ruin his day as St Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal.

Despite a Status Yellow snow and ice warning covering the whole country for today, the Dublin native said Irish people are used to getting on with life, no matter the weather.

"What can you do? We live in Ireland. We live in a temperate zone. If you were the type of person to let the weather get you down, you could spend a long time depressed here," he told

"You get your head around it and you get on with it. It's character building.

"So whatever comes, we'll suffer with smiles on our faces."

The 56-year-old actor grew up in Dublin's north inner city and follows on from former Grand Marshals such as Olympic medalist Annalise Murphy, disability campaigner Joanne O'Riordan and Mrs Brown star Brendan O'Carroll.

Mr Cunningham says it is an extraordinary honour to have been asked to fulfil the role.

"You could win an Oscar every year if you're lucky enough to get the right parts, this only comes along once in a lifetime. For this to happen in my own city is just fantastic," he said.

"I took great delight in running up to my mother and going 'I've a bit of news, mam' and it caused the biggest smile I've seen on her face in a while. She's delighted. As I am."

Thousands of people are expected to line the streets of Dublin for today's parade, which is expected to kick off at midday.

With forecasters predicting Arctic temperatures of -5C, parade organisers are advising punters to wrap up warm,

"The recommendation is be comfortable, be warm and give yourself plenty of time to get around the city," St Patrick's Day Festival CEO Susan Kirby said.

The theme of the parade this year is 'Home Is Where the Heart Is' and community groups and pageant companies from across Ireland and the world will take part.  There will be more than 2000 band members too.

The St Patrick's Festival, which has been taking place since Thursday will finish up tomorrow.

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