It might not be the biggest parade in the world but Dublin is surely one of the best spots to be for the St Patrick’s Day bash.
Quite apart from the parade on the day itself, the St Patrick’s Day Festival this year runs until Bank Holiday Monday, with the more than 120,000 overseas visitors expected to spend in excess of €50m, giving city pubs and businesses a much welcome boost.
The parade itself starts at 12pm, with the 2.5km route beginning on Parnell Square, continuing on to O’Connell St and over O’Connell Bridge to Westmoreland St. It then winds its way down Dame St and Lord Edward St passing by Christchurch Cathedral and along Patrick St where it finishes just past St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Grand marshal for the parade this year is Westlife star Nicky Byrne who follows in the footsteps of other stars like Katie Taylor, Johnny Giles, and Ronnie Drew.
Marching ensembles from around the globe from the US to Italy will provide the musical entertainment for the tens of thousands of people expected to line the streets of the capital.
As part of ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’, festival organisers have invited up to 8,000 people from around the world to march in the Dublin parade.
Visitors from Mexico to Malaysia will parade the streets of Dublin to soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
In keeping with concept of The Gathering, the parade will be themed ‘Great Things Happen When We Get Together’.
Another highlight of the celebrations is the festival’s culture programme ‘I Love My City’, which will see 16 free headline events staged in some of Dublin’s most prestigious cultural institutions over five days.
The ‘Sacred Harp’ in Trinity College’s Library, ‘Resound’ in the National Gallery, and ‘Night Lights’ in the Boys School, Smock Alley are but a few of the specially curated events in this year’s series.
Festival favourites, such as the Festival Céilí, are back in the line-up for this year.
For those unsure of the steps, expert callers will lead the crowd through dances such as the Siege of Ennis and the Walls of Limerick.
The SuperValu Big Day Out in Merrion Square tomorrow will come alive with the sights and sounds of a bustling, colourful street carnival.
Street theatre, open-air shows, music, fun zones, workshops, arts and crafts, the science zone, games, Irish language events and much more will keep young and old entertained.
Some 225,000 passengers are expected to use Dublin Airport over the weekend, up 6% on last year, while many buildings around the airport are to be lit up in green for the weekend.
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