ACCLAIMED author and poet Dermot Bolger will lead a host of Irish soccer fans in what is likely to be the biggest-ever St Patrick's Day parade through the centre of Stockholm this weekend.
Dermot has been invited as Grand Marshal of the Stockholm Parade, which was due to take place last weekend but was postponed as a mark of respect to the death of Princess Lillian.
Now the festivities will coincide with the arrival of 4,000 fans in the Swedish capital for Friday night's Ireland-Sweden World Cup qualifier.
Soccer fans are expected to swell the ranks of the 800 or so Irish expats who take part in the Stockholm celebrations.
The author is currently on a week-long tour of Sweden doing talks and readings and with his play The Parting Glass, which tells the story of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger using football as a metaphor for our economy.
He told the Herald he is looking forward to what "promises to be a very exciting weekend".
Dermot says his play is being "taken well by the Swedes even if one of the villains in the play is the Swedish referee blinded by generations by self-abuse".
He explains that the huge Irish cultural programme for St Patrick's Day in Stockholm, which has been running all week, is now being extended to take in the weekend of the parade.
The festival programme began on March 8 and, as well as Dermot Bolger, highlights include Anuna, Ireland's National Choir and Riverdance star Colin Dunne.
Dermot will be at the game on Friday night and lead the parade on Saturday afternoon. He is then due to do a reading in Stockholm on Saturday night, accompanied with music by his songwriting sons Donnacha and Diarmuid.
Tonight Dermot arrives in Sweden "to catch something of the flavour of the town with the Irish invasion for the crucial game".