Rainbow of colours enrich parade

MAMMY wore black knee-high Doc Martens over black tights under a black overcoat with raven dreadlocks twisting down the back and scary black make-up coating her eyes.

Daddy was similarly smothered in dead-of-night shades, inky black tattoos obscuring any flesh-coloured parts and only copious body piercings to distinguish him from the road surface.

The kids, in contrast, bounced around in verdant jumpers and emerald trousers like frogs rescued from a tar barrel. On St Patrick’s Day, it seems, even the O’Osbournes have room for a little green in their lives.

Or a lot of it. Every one of the half a million spectators in Dublin yesterday appeared to have dumped their Susannah and Trinnie how-not-to guides and dived into something that neither matched, complemented nor visually enhanced in an effort to show their true colours.

Grannies had swiped sons-in-law’s rugby kits, rapper-style young brosslunk around in Celtic shirts and bottle blondes risked ruffling bouffant blow-dried locks with shamrock-shaped

zogabongs. For once, in what seemed like centuries, the sun shone, the sky was blue and the only anti-precipitation defence shields in sight came courtesy of Limerick arts group, The Umbrella Project.

Even they managed to avoid any reference to heavenly spillages by dressing their entire membership as multi-coloured pigeons. They might have pooped on the parade but they certainly weren’t going to rain on it.

The parade’s theme of ‘Visions and Voyages’ was liberally interpreted, to say the least but was perhaps best summed up by the entry of hardy annuals, the Bui Bolg street performance group from Wexford who had a party of Lilliputians off on an expedition to study exotic life-forms.

They didn’t have to go far. At one point in this biggest-ever Dublin parade, a life-sized stuffed bride teetered on top a 25-foot high wedding cake while her real-life groom got down to Disco Inferno blasting out of the base. History fused with fantasy and the Dowtcha

Puppets group from Cork livened up the well-worn tale of Irish emigration to Van Diemen’s Land with sea monsters, mermaids, Tasmanian devils and a displaced djembe drum from Guinea, West Africa, that had presumably washed up on the shore.

Cultures mixed and mismatchedand while the Lume de Biqueira group from Madrid delivered a true-to-tradition recital of olde Galician bagpipe music, the Wolcott High School Marching Eagles from Connecticut with their McDonald-esque outfits and replica rifle bearing band leader (at least there were prayers it was a replica given the way she casually mistook it for a baton and twirled it around at alarming angles) played an Irish jig followed by the theme from the High Chaparral. Or was it Big Country?

American marching bands and majorettes came in their usual enthusiastic numbers despite the rigours of cookie sales and car washes undertaken to defray the cost of the trip.

The pompom princesses of the Alexis I duPont High School Tiger Marching Band from Wilmington Delaware discovered that short skirts and sequins are no safeguard against shivering.

Delightfully daft, deftly delivered. Next year even the O’Osbornes will be persuaded to come in green.

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence