With terrific weather in the forecast, the Irish turned their backs on the current violence in the North and the economy everywhere to get ready for the biggest national holiday, St. Patrick’s Day.
Around the Irish world, the story was the same, as parade marchers in every time zone had either already marched, were getting ready to march, were marching, or were celebrating after their march.
In Ireland, the largest parade will take place in Dublin, beginning at noon tomorrow from Parnell Square. The theme is “The Sky is the Limit”, and more than 2,000 performers will take part including Irish street theater companies, ceremonial groups and marching bands from all around the Irish world.
According to The Irish Times, a special GAA celebration, "Monumental Moments", will lead the parade to mark the GAA’s 125th anniversary. GAA stars Brian Dooher, Henry Shefflin, Angela Walsh and Caitríona Foley will act as the joint grand marshals. GAA commentator Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh will provide the commentary.
A funfair is taking place in Merrion Square today and will continue until 11pm tomorrow night. The National Concert Hall is to host the Kilfenora Céilí Band tonight and at Liberty Hall, a lively debate on what it means to be Irish is promised.
Up to 70 local parades will be taking place around the country, from Ardee to Wicklow town.
“Cosmic Chaos” is the theme of this year’s festivities in Cork and organizers have teamed up with Blackrock Castle Observatory to celebrate the UN International Year of Astronomy. Nasa astronaut Dan Tani will lead tomorrow’s parade, which will begin at the South Mall.
City Hall will host an exhibition Capture the Cosmos, as part of the festivities and the new boardwalk along the river Lee will host a number of events, including the Barry’s Tea food market, presented by Cork City Council.
The Limerick “Go Green” parade will begin from Sarsfield Barracks and will be led by children’s TV presenter Emma O’Driscoll.
In Galway, the parade, “A Celebration of the Sea”, will start at Lower Dominick Street. The St Patrick’s Day carnival procession in Belfast, with the theme “Legends, Myths and Stories”, will leave City Hall at noon, according to The Times.
"Drinkaware.ie is challenging consumers to break that typical Irish stereotype of excess and public drunkenness which has, for far too long, been synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations," chief executive Fionnuala Sheehan said.
Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland wished Irish people everywhere a very happy and faith-filled St. Patrick's Day.
“This St Patrick's Day I am very much aware that violence has returned to the streets of Northern Ireland. If the awful and tragic events of last week teach us anything, it is that all of us must work unceasingly for peace here on our island. I would urge all citizens to redouble efforts to build a peaceful society,” The Times quoted him as saying.