Dingle kept up its early-riser tradition, with a band marching along the main street from 6am
Inclusivity, courage and pride were the dominant parade themes as thousands braved showers to attend St Patrick’s Day festivities across the country.
Recent sporting successes were marked, including the performance of Irish trainers at Cheltenham and Ireland’s rugby heroes, who chase a Six Nations Grand Slam against England at the Aviva today.
Some parades also featured donkeys to honour the success of The Banshees of Inisherin and the “greening” of Hollywood.
Cork staged the biggest parade in its history, while in towns and cities from Galway to Kerry and Waterford support for Ukraine was a common theme, with blue-and-yellow flags very much in evidence.
Parades in major cities and towns were noticeable for their large international participation, particularly from the US.
Cahir, Co Tipperary – where one in three residents were born outside Ireland – celebrated its diversity with one of the most colourful parades ever staged.
Dingle, Co Kerry, kept with tradition by kicking off the St Patrick’s Day festivities with its early-morning parade – the first of the day in all of Ireland.
The sun had yet to come up as the Dingle Fife and Drum Band marched along the main street from 6am.
The tradition of an early-morning parade in west Kerry dates from the late 19th century when large gatherings were banned by British authorities during daylight hours to control Land War agitation.
The Cork city parade was the largest ever staged in the county, featuring 3,500 participants and 55 groups as the Sanctuary Runners served as grand marshals.
A huge international contingent took part on Leeside. They were led by the University of Florida Gator marching band and the Grandview High School Wolf Pride band from Denver, Colorado.
The west Cork village of Courtmacsherry decided to go one better, combining its traditional street display with a special sea parade by local boats.
In the east of the county, Fermoy’s parade had loud cheers for local groups working to support integration, with people from more than 40 countries taking part.
In Mallow, a special tribute was paid at the parade to local sports volunteer Michael ‘Fox’ O’Sullivan for his inclusion in the Irish basketball Hall of Fame.
The coastal town of Bantry celebrated Irish music, with over two hours of street performances before the traditional parade was held.
Hazel Vickery served as grand marshal, and the town will also stage a special “Leprechaun Walk” today.
Clonakilty mixed traditional Irish music with brass bands and pipe groups in keeping with its parade theme of “Cool Clon”, which highlighted the climate crisis.
Dunmanway staged its parade with the theme of “Irish folklore”. Inclusivity was emphasised with a special autism-friendly stretch to offer reduced noise levels so children and adults with the condition could still enjoy the proceedings.
In Killarney, Co Kerry, retired garda Cathal Walshe was honoured with the role of grand marshal to honour his lifetime of commitment to local sporting and cultural groups.
Cork-born community garda Mary Gardiner ensured the Rebels had something to celebrate in the Kingdom when she was honoured with the grand marshal role at the Tralee parade.
The honour was given to recognise the enormous community work Garda Gardiner has carried out, not least the impressive fundraising drive she undertook for cancer charities after she was diagnosed with the disease last year.
Waterford city, the first Irish city to hold a St Patrick’s Day parade, in 1903, celebrated one of its biggest in modern times.
Light-heavyweight champion boxer Kelyn Cassidy served as the grand marshal.
Tullamore, Co Offaly, celebrated the 40th year of its St Patrick’s Day festivities with a display of colour, music and a few surprises. Not even heavy rain in the morning could dampen the party atmosphere.
The theme this year was “Tidy Towns”, leading many entrants to base their floats on the environment.
Hundreds of children took part, representing schools and GAA clubs in Offaly, including Tullamore, Geashill and Ballinamere.
One of the biggest floats was produced by the local Tidy Towns committee and featured a massive display of nature and biodiversity on the back of a truck.
Local music groups including the Clara Town Band provided the entertainment.