Villages and towns throughout Ireland paint the town green for St Patrick's Day

From highly professional processional spectacles to downright paddywhackery, villages and towns throughout the country laid it on thick yesterday in honour of our national saint.

Villages and towns throughout Ireland paint the town green for St Patrick's Day

Organisers of the main parade in Dublin city centre put the crowds at more than 500,000, well up on last year’s figures.

More than 3,000 performers took part in the carnival, with Irish sporting hero, Tour de France-winning cyclist Stephen Roche the grand marshal, as Ireland prepares to welcome the Giro d’Italia bike race.

Brian Boru, an Irish wolfhound named Paddy, and Viking Sitric were among the spectacular sights and sounds on the route from O’Connell St to St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The Dublin parade was one of the largest in the world, where the theme, Let’s Make History, marked the first part of a three-year programme. The next two years will look at the present and future.

President Michael D Higgins attended the event with his wife Sabina and urged people to think of those who have emigrated from Ireland in recent years.

“It continues to play a significant role in defining us as a society and as a people,” he said.

Killarney Legion GAA Club juvenile members create a comical scene to show Killarney Town Council being abolished and chased out of town by ‘Enda Kenny’ and ‘Phil Hogan’.

The parade from Dublin was streamed online to a worldwide audience and an Irish diaspora of about 70m.

The earliest parade was held in Dingle, Co Kerry, at 6am, a tradition with its origins in Penal Times when music was outlawed from sunrise to sunset on the feast day.

Galway’s parade by the sea was domin-ated by pirates and a variety of maritime attractions.

The city’s multicultural ethos was reflected in the participation of the Russian, Latvian, Polish, African, and Filipino communities.

Six-times World Dancing Champion Claire Greaney was guest of honour.

Scottish terrier ‘Sparky’ pulled a trailer of turf during the

Killarney parade.

Galway Community Circus was the star attraction for the thousands of children who attended.

In Limerick, giant buzzing bees, a 16ft bear and lively performances from Limerick’s Filipino, Indian, Eastern European, and African communities all entertained the estimated 70,000-strong crowd lining the streets of our national City of Culture.

Athletes from Special Olympics Ireland were grand marshals of this year’s event which saw 102 floats taking part. Highlights included acclaimed street theatre groups Macnas and Buí Bolg from Wexford.

There was a poignant moment when a number of white doves were released into the air by Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrols.

Another festival highlight was ‘Paddy’s Day Unlocked’ — a free City of Culture event featuring musical performances, a screening, dance, theatrical performances and spoken word at The Milk Market.

In Waterford, all manner of characters and creatures came out of the woodwork and the River Suir itself to boast of the city’s impressive cultural heritage.

A Co Tipperary man became the oldest grand marshal at a St Patrick’s Day parade. Neddy Gear (100) was grand marshal at the Littleton parade, travelling in a vintage car.

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