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Millions line world's streets to celebrate St Patrick's day as the capital splashes €2m

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Participants during the Dublin's St Patrick's Day Parade. Photo: Niall Carsons/PA Wire

Participants during the Dublin's St Patrick's Day Parade. Photo: Niall Carsons/PA Wire

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Participants during the Dublin's St Patrick's Day Parade. Photo: Niall Carsons/PA Wire

Around two million revellers took to the streets to celebrate St Patrick's Day across the country, while the capital splashed out nearly €2m on its five-day festival.

Families from across the globe turned out to the largest parade in the country in Dublin as the sun shone on O'Connell Street in the heart of the city.

The event, which saw around 500,000 people lining the streets, marked Ireland's rich history of storytelling.

A family beginning a new story in Dublin, the Chhikaras from New Delhi, India, marvelled at the party atmosphere at the parade.

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Dad Arun Chhikara (34), mum Anjali (34) and their children Kanishihk (7) and Kiara (3) have recently moved to Clarehall in the north of the city and they're already soaking up the Irish culture.

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Fiona Harrison and Amy Griffin from Durham at the 2019 St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin.
Photo: Tony Gavin

Fiona Harrison and Amy Griffin from Durham at the 2019 St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin

Fiona Harrison and Amy Griffin from Durham at the 2019 St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin

"I moved to Ireland to work as a project manager but that's not the main reason we moved here," Mr Chhikara said.

"I wanted to bring my children to Ireland as it's a country with clean air and water and with a friendly people and rich culture."

He said attending the parade was "another part of us learning about Ireland's culture".

President Michael D Higgins watched the festival with wife Sabina after attending mass at the Pro Cathedral.

Jill Behnke (36), her husband Bob (38), daughter Ryleigh Barratt (18) and son Colton (2) had only just arrived in Dublin at 4am after a flight from Chicago, but despite getting no sleep the family hit the streets for the parade.

"We've been up for 24 hours," Ms Behnke said.

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A Majorette from the Iowa Marching Band at the 2019 St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin.
Photo: Tony Gavin

A Majorette from the Iowa Marching Band at the 2019 St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin

A Majorette from the Iowa Marching Band at the 2019 St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin

"But we're running on adrenaline and having a great time."

St Patrick's Festival chief executive Susan Kirby said the €1.9m investment leads to a huge boost to the Dublin economy as tourists flock to events throughout the week.

Comedians Jason Byrne and Deirdre O'Kane, parade Grand Marshals, were in fine spirits despite the long day ahead of them.

After leading parade festivities, they were due to take to the stage for the Paddy's Night in Support of Comic Relief at the 3Arena in Dublin.

The spring sunshine saw crowds basking in a party atmosphere as they enjoyed an array of floats from across the world.

The Forests of Fado float showcased children dressed as flowers and trees coming to life, while Charlotte Catholic High School's marching band, from North Carolina, entertained the crowds, along with the University of Iowa Marching Band.

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A reveller poses with a policewoman on March 17, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

A reveller poses with a policewoman on March 17, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

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A reveller poses with a policewoman on March 17, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Large crowds gathered from early morning to nab the best vantage points.

Every windowsill and even some lamp posts were used to gain some height to watch the parade pass by.

Dublin mother Nicole Ryan took her three children, Matthew, Rachel and Louise, along for the parade.

They had managed to nab a coveted spot on Dame Street to watch the floats and marching bands.

"We haven't been in to see the Dublin city parade for a couple of years so we thought it would be nice to bring the kids in," she said.

Cold

Rachel (11) said she loved the marching bands, while her sister Louise (10) said the big floats were what she enjoyed the most.

Vanessa Ives and Kim Mac Quet had travelled all the way from South Africa to attend the parade during their first trip to Ireland.

"We love it here, we're definitely coming back," they said.

However, they added that they had come from a heatwave in Johannesburg so they were feeling the cold.

They donned green tops, green skirts and even dyed their hair green for the day.

Ms Mac Quet said she had decided to visit to put her Irish passport to use for the first time. Her grandparents were from Ireland.

More than 150 St Patrick's Day parades took place across the rest of the country.

In Galway, more than 30,000 people celebrated the St Patrick's Day festival.


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