Organizers of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade have promised the annual celebrations will be the best yet, with the greatest ever number of overseas participants set to take part.
To mark the year of ‘The Gathering’ the Dublin parade on March 17 will explore the theme 'Great Things Happen When We Get Together.'
One of the main highlights of the 5-day festival will be a ‘People's Parade’ made up of 8,000 participants from around the world.
Transport and Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said the 2013 festival will be bigger and better than ever.
He said: "The festival grows every year, it's a five-day event with lots of things happening on the streets.
"It is added to this year because of The Gathering and also because of the fact we have the People's Parade with 8,000 people from overseas taking part.
"There are 5,000 places booked already so there is still a chance to get in there."
Edelle Moss, acting CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival said: “We are delighted in the year of the Gathering Ireland to be offering the opportunity for so many overseas visitors to be active participants in our world renowned Festival Parade.
“It will certainly be a memorable experience for all and with participants from over 45 different countries it’s bound to be a truly international celebration. The fantastic five day programme is packed with street theatre, pageantry, music, culture, family events and lots of surprises ensuring that regardless of age or tastes there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
Previously, St. Patrick’s Festival has added €43.7million to the economy annually in spending by tourists with the number rising to a staggering €50.5million when the spend by Dubliners attending was included.
This year’s festival runs from the 14-18th March.