Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

Yesterday the world celebrated Ireland's patron saint with parades across the county and around the globe.

He came with his own gameplan and carried it off with aplomb.

Organisers of the St Patrick’s Day parade in Cork had offered grand marshal George Hook the opportunity to head the 3,000 participants in a Model T Ford.

But despite undergoing a knee operation last January (proudly showing the scar to anybody who asked), the 74-year-old rugby pundit was having none of it, insisting on walking the whole route.

He made more clean breaks than the Irish rugby team have done so far in the Six Nations as he criss-crossed the route to shake hands with thousands of spectators, kiss a few women and pose for numerous selfies.

On several occasions he jinked in and out of dancers and sold Lord Mayor Cllr Mary Shields a number of dummies and he took off to greet somebody who’d shouted his name.

“He’s a nightmare,” said Ms Shields. “But in a good way. He’s just amazing.”

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

St Patrick's Day Parade Cork City

The parade was slowed up because he wanted to greet so many. Player rating 10/10.

“Thanks very much for having me,” he’d say as he high-fived along the crowd-control barriers.

“I’m just blown away by the reception and the generosity of people. The adrenalin was pumping,” said George who was born on Albert Road in 1941. “I’m just thrilled, it’s been an enormous privilege.”

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

Muireann Healy, 15, from Banteer, got a selfie with the big man. “It’s the best I ever got. My friends will be so jealous,” she beamed.

Deane Coade, 9, from Boreenmanna Road, also got one and predicted Ireland would win the Six Nations, despite the pundit saying Wales could be the dark horses as they could knock up a big score in Rome.

While there wasn’t as many large floats as in pre-recession years, colour abounded and the organisers said more than 65,000 spectators looked on.

Spraoi from Waterford got big cheers with Brian Boru’s army, some on horseback and followed by a massive bull.

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

Spraoi perform at the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Cork City. 

Best overall entry was awarded to the Middle Parish and Coal Quay Historical Society, which was established in 2009 to research and record the unique parish’s rich heritage, culture and tradition.

The parade in Fermoy.

In Mallow, more than 3,000 spectators watched a mix of community, voluntary, educational, industrial and sporting groups march through the town in a parade themed ‘Súil na nÓg’ (Walk of Youth).

Thousands also took advantage of the good weather to line the streets of Clonakilty which was holding its 21st consecutive parade.

It wasn’t just towns where people turned out. Nearly every man, woman and child was present at parades in Dripsey and Coppeen where the emphasis was firmly on a family fun day out.

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

Sharon O’Leary Hayes taking part in the parade in Coppeen, Co Cork.

Meanwhile, some of the first tourists of the season were among the biggest crowds for many years at the St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney, Co Kerry, which took more than an hour to pass through the streets.

Land of Myths and Legends was the theme of event, which had an abundance of brown-robed figures, marking the area’s monastic tradition, with several references to the isle of Innisfallen, in Killarney Lakes.

Bright sunshine lured huge numbers to parades around the county.

Thousands lined the streets of Tralee for a parade which had the 2014 Kerry Rose of Tralee entrant, Mary Hickey, as grand marshal.

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

All smiles in Tralee, Co Kerry.

Bands, dancers, local voluntary organisations and sports clubs turned out in style for the parade, which was followed by traditional Irish entertainment. Active Tralee was theme of the day’s programme.

Records crowds were reported in Castleisland, while in Ballybunion, local piper Danny Houlihan led the parade which, for the first time, had a giant snake being chased through the streets by none other than St Patrick himself.

One of the country’s first parades was in Dingle where, in keeping with time-honoured custom, the local fife and drum band gave the town an early wake-up call by taking to the streets at 6am, followed by upwards of 800 people.

Dingle’s ‘official’ parade took place later.

In Listowel, there was plenty of Irish music before and after the parade, with performers entertaining large crowds from a platform in the town square.

 

Celebrating all things green from Dublin to Dusseldorf

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

By Conor Kane, Evelyn Ring, and Jimmy Woulfe

After meeting in an Irish pub in Germany 20 years ago, Margot and Pascal Dittmann marked their anniversary this year with a visit to Ireland for St Patrick’s Day.

“We have a St Patrick’s Day parade in Dusseldorf every year — it is very big and very loud,” said Margot.

“The parade in Dublin is very different.

“It is not as noisy as the one in Dusseldorf but it is very colourful and we like it very much.”

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

Lovely lilies make their way down O’Connell Street towards St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Margot and Pascal were among half a million people on the streets of the capital today, including Lord Mayor Christy Burke, who arrived for the parade in a state coach built in 1791 and now valued at €3m.

The coach, drawn by six white horses, was originally agreed at a price of £600, but eventually cost the city £2,690. Even in those days, public representatives got their sums wrong.

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

Cheeky artist gets creative with a member of the public enjoying the St Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin.

Meanwhile, at the Waterford parade, former All-Star hurler Tony Browne took pride of place as this year’s grand marshal, presiding over hundreds of scouts and various sporting and cultural groups.

The theme for this year’s parade was ‘Together We’re Better’, reflecting the first St Patrick’s Day since the city and county councils were merged.

The Spraoi group provided its now-customary large-scale models such as a large, flipping fish and a Viking-style ship, while the Children’s Group Link showed off some impressive craft work featuring copies of landmarks like the Master McGrath monument outside Dungarvan and the Metalman in Tramore.

Similar ceoil agus craic could be found at the Limerick festivities — their parade is being hailed as one of the best the Treaty City has ever seen. A new format meant less machinery and more music to delight the 70,000 thronging the city centre.

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

Fidget Feet, the Grand Marshals at the Limerick Saint Patricks Festival featured the Giant Saint Patricks Day Parade.

Old local stalwarts, such as the Boherbuoy Band, who have been leading the parade as long as anybody can remember, strode out under the baton of Ger Power. They were followed by St Mary’s Prize fife and drum prize band.

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

Double take among the thousands who enjoyed the Dublin parade.

But the festivities weren’t just limited to Ireland — our national feast day has become a popular celebration all across the world.

In the UK, Prince William and pregnant wife Kate presented shamrocks to soldiers from the Irish Guards at a barracks in Aldershot.

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

Prince William enjoys a pint as the Duchess of Cambridge looks on at Mons Barracks, Aldershot.

They even tried to pin a sprig to the collar of the regiment’s mascot, an Irish wolfhound called Domhnall.

But as she bent down to pin the sprig on the silver collar of the regiment’s beloved mascot — who was presented with a red coat by President Michael D Higgins during his state visit to the UK last year — it kept falling off.

Quartermaster Major Paul Fagin had to step in to give the royal a hand at the ceremony in Mons Barracks, Aldershot, Hampshire.

Kate later joked about the mishap with three children who presented her with a posy of white flowers.

She told eight year-old Ciara Flynn and her twin sisters Leah and Eva, both six, that it was tricky.

The three-year-old dog, who weighs 73kg, the equivalent of 11-and-a-half stone, was treated to a sip of Guinness after the ceremony.

In the US, President Barack Obama and the Republican-led congress were the delightful hosts of many Irish guests, while New York’s flagship parade turned Fifth Avenue into a sea of green. As the holiday fell on a Tuesday this year, however, many American cities held their St Patrick’s Day celebrations at the weekend.

Photos and videos from St Patrick’s Day parades around the country

A group of dancers high-stepping through New York during the St Patrick’s Day parade.

Closer to home, Paris’ Sacre Coeur basilica atop Montmartre was enshrined in green for the occasion, with Irish pubs all over the city full to the brim with revelers. On the Champs Elysees, the Publicis Drugstore hosted an Irish meal and whiskey tasting, while the 18th-century College des Irlandais hosted a concert by traditional Irish band Kila.

Unsurprisingly, considering the amount of Irish emigrants to end up on their shores, United Arab Emirates and Australia also got in on the Paddy’s Day action.

In the UAE, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Towers and luxury Burj Al Arab hotel both turned green for the day — they were among 160 global locations to do so, organised by Tourism Ireland.

The Sydney St Patrick’s Day parade took place on Sunday, attracting 80,000 people to the streets, though many green army revelers kept the party going until late last night.

Irish dancers could be seen tapping away on the floors of a Sydney pub, accompanied by a jigging band and the cheers and claps of onlookers.

Read more of today’s news here

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