Protestant extremists upset the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Armagh – as the leader of Ireland’s Catholic Church marched with the Vatican’s new ambassador, the New York-born Archbishop Charles Brown.

Cardinal Sean Brady had invited Archbishop Brown to the city’s St Patrick’s Cathedral for the first time as Papal Nuncio to Ireland.

But Armagh’s traditional St Patrick’s Day parade had to be diverted and cut short after a bomb scare in Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital.

Protestant extremists made a call claiming to have left a bomb in the town center.

USA Today reports that British Army experts used a remote-controlled robot to dismantle a suspicious package but deemed it a hoax.

The report says the threat overshadowed a special celebration of Ireland’s patron saint at St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Cardinal Brady formally welcomed Brown.

The two men had marched at the head of the threat-disrupted parade.

Cardinal Brady told his guest: “You come to our country at a critical time.

“Our island, north and south, continues to recover from dramatic economic setbacks after the years of the Celtic Tiger.

“At the same time we search for another, more important recovery … the recovery of our Christian memory.”

The Cardinal also expressed his concern that St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at home and abroad were too focused on partying in green clothes.

He added: “This seems to the base rather than celebrating St Patrick’s Christian commitment as a man on fire with the truth and hope of the Gospel.”

Cardinal Brady also offered prayers for the estimated 50,000 citizens who have emigrated in the past year.