herald

Thursday 24 August 2017

Irish eyes are smiling as 500,000 take to the streets to celebrate St Patrick's Day

Aerial shot of O'Connell Street
Aerial shot of O'Connell Street
Abigale Maguire from Kentstown Co Meath pictured at the St Patrick's day parade in Dublin
Ann'ael Miniou from Brittany in France looks to gets the best pictures of the St Patrick's day parade in Dublin
Members of the Atomic Stage School with Artastic "Wow O Clock" pictured during the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin
Two youngsters watch the the St Patrick's day parade from a window as the parade makes its way down Parnell Square, in Dublin
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Lucy Mc Grath (5) from Lusk Co Dublin with her Dad Fergus Mc Grath
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Nicole and Holly Emmert from North Carolina
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
Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Emily Vaughan and Shauna Rouse from Artastic in Kildare
Abigale Maguire from Kentstown Co Meath pictured at the St Patrick's day parade in Dublin
Ann'ael Miniou from Brittany in France looks to gets the best pictures of the St Patrick's day parade in Dublin
Members of the Atomic Stage School with Artastic "Wow O Clock" pictured during the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin
Dublin St Patricks Day Parade Grand Marshal, Brendan O Carroll and his wife Jennifer Gibney wave to the crowds outside the GPO during the St Patrick's day parade in Dublin

IT was led by a cross-dressing comedian, featured dozens of floats and hundreds of performers and stretched from O'Connell Street to St Patrick's Cathedral in a cavalcade of colour.

A little rain wasn't going to dampen the spirits of the more than half a million revellers who took to the capital's streets for the highlight of this year's St Patrick's Festival.

Grand Marshal Brendan O'Carroll left the Mrs Brown get-up at home as he was joined by his wife Jennifer Gibney at the head of the parade in an impressive vintage Rolls Royce.

The first couple of Irish comedy abandoned the car to shake hands with the nation's first couple President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina.

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"It's been mind-blowing," Brendan (59) said during the parade.

"It feels like Italia 90," he said, referring to the glorious summer when Jack's Army took on the world.

Brendan delayed his UK tour to lead the festivities in his native city.

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"I stood just not far from the O'Connell statue in my plastic sandals with no socks looking at this in wonderment, not even dreaming that one day I would be the Grand Marshal.

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Members of the Atomic Stage School with Artastic "Wow O Clock" pictured during the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin

"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 him being chosen to lead the parade.

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

The bright colours of the stunning floats from Ireland and abroad certainly succeeded in banishing the gloom brought by the dreary grey skies.

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Cork-based puppet makers Dowtcha's weather-themed display featured a massive sun and rainbow and street theatre group Spraoi unleashed their Wild at Heart animals on the city.

An equally eye-catching display was put on by French offering Les Poupees Geantes - three giant dolls standing at a staggering five metres high.

Marching bands from as far as the US, Mexico and Germany performed for spectators as they marched between Parnell Square and Patrick's Street.

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Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Lucy Mc Grath (5) from Lusk Co Dublin with her Dad Fergus Mc Grath

The crowds had travelled from far and wide to attend yesterday's festivities.

Stevie Packnode from Florida is visiting from the States with her friends.

"It's our first time over here for St Patrick's Day and it's great. There's a good atmosphere and people are really enjoying themselves. We're just here to have a good time and have a few drinks with the Irish.

"St Patrick's Day back home is pretty big as well but we wanted to experience it here in Dublin this year," she said.

Marina Khemdek from Paris, told the Herald she travelled to Ireland to see "the real St Patrick's Day parade".

"The Irish people are very welcoming and really fun, which is exactly what we came here for."

Chinese national Wesley Wang, who lives in Lucan brought his family to the parade.

"It's been a long day and were tired but the kids have loved it," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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