St Patrick's Day

Green day: Follow our live coverage of the parades and events

Patrick Freyne Thu, Mar 17
 
LIVE: St Patrick's Day

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  • 09:19
    Hello! It’s Thursday the 17th of March. And this is the Irish Times Patrick’s Day Liveblog. Everyone’s a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day so we’ll be distributing social security numbers and passports over the course of the day (they will evaporate on the chime of midnight). We’ll also be enlisting you in any wars we start (suckers).  
  • 09:27
    Here’s me waiting for my bus very early this morning, unaware that buses, trains and Luases are rather annoyingly running their Sunday timetable (Incidentally, that’s how I always dress and I don’t appreciate all the other people I saw this morning Single-White Femaling me).
    Here’s me waiting for my bus very early this morning, unaware that buses, trains and Luases are rather annoyingly running their Sunday timetable (Incidentally, that’s how I always dress and I don’t appreciate all the other people I saw this morning Single-White Femaling me).
  • 09:28
  • 09:37

    It’s also, as you’re aware, the feast of Gertrude of Nivelles. She’s the patron saint of travellers and gardeners and can be called upon against rats and mental illness. There’s also a Liveblog dedicated to her somewhere on the site, run by Conor Pope I believe.    

  • 09:40

    St Patrick’s Day is always a great day for the Irish diaspora, of course. Here they are:  

    A great bunch of lads. Seriously, the emotion in Beaker’s voice. He’s like a young Count John McCormack. And listen to Animal’s delicate phrasing. Doesn’t he sound like Luke Kelly? The Swedish Chef there, of course, singing in Irish.


    Apologies, I’ve just been told that was actually Swedish  

  • 09:53

    Parade info!

    The Dublin Parade will start at 12 on Parnell Square and wind down to St Patrick’s Cathedral by 2.30pm. The theme is “Imagine If” and leading the parade is the amazing 19-year-old Joanne O’Riordan. She’s the youngest ever grand marshal. 500,000 people are expected in Dublin for the festivities.

    The theme of the Cork parade is 1916: The Legacy and it will be led by seven actors playing the seven signatories of the 1916 proclamation. It also features a 10ft high puppet of Patrick Pearse created by Dowtcha Puppets. It sets out at 1pm and proceeds along the South Mall to Grand Parade along St Patrick’s Street before finishing at Merchant’s Quay.

    The Belfast parade sets out from City Hall at noon and finishes at Custom House Square where there’ll be a free concert featuring X Factor winner Ben Haenow and Brian McFadden (you will be allowed leave when it’s thought you’ve suffered enough).

    The Galway parade leaves Fr Griffin Road at 11.30 and concludes at Eyre Square. The parade’s guest of honour is Marie McMullen, founder of the Druid Theatre. Macnas will be there. Just try to stop them, the big headed weirdos. There’ll also be a “best of Irish comedy” performance at the Stock Exchange on Ship Street.

    There’s loads more info on parades all over the country here: http://www.irishtimes.com/l...

  • 09:59
    St Patrick was a fifth century missionary credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Here he is in an early picture converting pagans like a boss.
    St Patrick was a fifth century missionary credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Here he is in an early picture converting pagans like a boss.
  • 10:05
    People get very het up about whether you call him 'Patty' or 'Paddy'.
    People get very het up about whether you call him "Patty" or "Paddy".
  • 10:12

    In the forties the Celtic studies scholar T.F. O’Rahilly came up with the theory that Patrick was actually a conflation of two separate missionaries - Palladius and Patricius.
    So, bear with me, isn’t it possible that one of their nicknames was “Paddy” and the other was “Patty”?
    So there you go – you’re both right. Crisis averted. Don’t thank me all at once.

    Or maybe you’re BOTH wrong. As a purist, I prefer to use Patrick's original name “Magonus Succetus” and I judge you all. Happy Magonus Succetus day everyone!

  • 10:24
    While we're on the 'Paddy' or 'Patty' controversy, here's a little sketch from Twisted Doodles.
    While we're on the "Paddy" or "Patty" controversy, here's a little sketch from Twisted Doodles.
  • 10:27
    Our system was overcome there for a moment with Patrick's Day passion and started randomly blogging things it saw on the internet. I think it's gaining sentience (It has terrible taste)
  • 10:30
    (The system just told me that I have terrible taste too)
  • 10:31

    This year is also the hundredth anniversary of 1916 - so that means double the patriotism this Patrick's Day. Let Michael Flatley give you a refresher course on what went down:


  • 10:33
    Still confused? Here’s another story about an Irish patriot pushed to the edge by interfering foreigners    
  • 10:45

    Believe it or not St Patrick's Day was once a drink free holiday. Not so much these days. The town of Providence in the US is even suspending its prohibtion on drinking in public to help us celebrate our national day:  http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/03/16/providence-temporarily-suspend-open-alcohol-carry-law-for-pats-day-weekend/Ega3gXS7v2D7ED2ICd8NiP/story.html

     

     

  • 10:47


    Meanwhile here at the Irish Times no-one is drinking (which is unusual for a Thursday morning) because we've all read this piece on what binge drinking does to the body:


    http://www.irishtimes.com/l...

     

  • 10:49
    Tourism Ireland has been busy again marking landmark buildings that the Irish will own when we take over the world. Here's the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
    Tourism Ireland has been busy again marking landmark buildings that the Irish will own when we take over the world. Here's the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
  • 10:51
    More St Patrick facts... Everyone thinks he looked like this.
    More St Patrick facts... Everyone thinks he looked like this.
  • 10:54

     

    But he was, apparently, Welsh so in reality he looked like this -  

    That was one of his masses.

  • 10:54
    And here's the ExCel London in all its green splendour.
    And here's the ExCel London in all its green splendour.
  • 10:56
    And the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.<br />We're presuming it doesn't usually look like that.<br /><br />
    And the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
    We're presuming it doesn't usually look like that.

  • 11:01

  • 11:14

    Give up Yer Auld Sins do the story of St Patrick, if you need a refresher course:  


  • 11:23
    Our man in the field (with a camera) Alan Betson is taking some pictures as people prepare for the parade in Dublin.  <br />(this is one of his photographs, not Alan).
    Our man in the field (with a camera) Alan Betson is taking some pictures as people prepare for the parade in Dublin.  
    (this is one of his photographs, not Alan).
  • 11:25
    Correction: That was actually Alan
  • 11:25

    This story from Waterford Whispers is disgraceful if true: http://waterfordwhispersnew...

     

  • 11:29
    The caretaker Taoiseach is over in the US in his part time job as a shamrock delivery man.  


    The tradition of giving shamrocks to the US president began in the 1950s and was explicitly designed as a way to drum up Irish tourism. Here’s a little history of it: http://edition.cnn.com/2010...

     

  • 11:30
    The shamrock was, as you know, used by St Patrick to explain the holy Trinity to the pagans. It can also be used to explain coalition government and the Supermacs “meal deal” to Americans
    The shamrock was, as you know, used by St Patrick to explain the holy Trinity to the pagans. It can also be used to explain coalition government and the Supermacs “meal deal” to Americans
  • 11:32
    Some fellas on their way to work.<br />Pretty sure they are lawyers.
    Some fellas on their way to work.
    Pretty sure they are lawyers.
  • 11:34
    Another pic by Alan Betson.<br />Looks like a first date.<br />  
    Another pic by Alan Betson.
    Looks like a first date.
     
  • 11:39


    More on shamrocks: "How many different ways can you accept a bowl of shamrocks, or celebrate the sterling qualities of the noble Irish people?" Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully once complained (it's in the aforeposted CNN article).

    There are also rumours that the shamrocks have to be destroyed after the event by the secret service. I’ll only believe this isn’t the case if Obama horses into them for the cameras this year.


    Have you ever eaten shamrocks by the way? They're bloody delicious

  • 11:39
    Okay, I've been told to clarify that shamrocks are not a food
  • 11:41
    There's always one . . .  
    There's always one . . .  
  • 11:52
    There was also, incidentally, a Marvel superhero called Shamrock. Her name was Molly Fitzgerald, her dad was in the IRA (!) and her power was channelling the souls of innocent victims of war. These were said to have given her 'the luck of the Irish.' I haven't read the Shamrock comics but going by our country's history I'm guessing this was terrible, terrible luck indeed.
    There was also, incidentally, a Marvel superhero called Shamrock. Her name was Molly Fitzgerald, her dad was in the IRA (!) and her power was channelling the souls of innocent victims of war. These were said to have given her "the luck of the Irish." I haven't read the Shamrock comics but going by our country's history I'm guessing this was terrible, terrible luck indeed.
  • 11:54
    More from Alan Betson.<br />This looks posed - but Alan wouldn't do that, so he was obviously just passing and took the pic.
    More from Alan Betson.
    This looks posed - but Alan wouldn't do that, so he was obviously just passing and took the pic.
  • 11:58

    Okay, are you feeling Irish yet? Here are five songs that will help you to feel Irish:  

    http://www.irishtimes.com/l...

     

  • 11:59
    You can catch LOADS more Irish Times Patrick's Day coverage here:  http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/st-patrick-s-day
  • 12:10
    RTE 1's Mass for St Patrick's Day is coming to an end (I know you love a bit of mass but what has mass got to do with St Patty?) but their parade coverage is about to start. Hurray!  
  • 12:20

    Patrick's Day parade fact: The first St Patrick's Day parade was organised in 1737 in Boston by the Charitable Society of Boston. It was primarily a protestant event and it include a toast to the King. Seriously.  

     

  • 12:20
    Here are some parades from all over the world: http://www.irishtimes.com/l...  
  • 12:23
    Burj Al Arab, Dubai.<br />A fantastic picture that's part of Tourism Ireland’s 2016 Global Domination initiative.<br />Sorry, Global Greening initiative (same thing).  
    Burj Al Arab, Dubai.
    A fantastic picture that's part of Tourism Ireland’s 2016 Global Domination initiative.
    Sorry, Global Greening initiative (same thing).  
  • 12:24



    Roisin would have you believe she doesn't wear that hat EVERY DAY.  

  • 12:31

    And here's Jennifer O'Connell with 37 (37!) signs that you might be Irish:  

    Caveat: self-diagnosing yourself with Irishness on the internet is apparently not a legal basis for a passport

  • 12:34
    Another one from Tourism Ireland.
Though we're not sure what 'I Am Sterdam' means.
    Another one from Tourism Ireland. Though we're not sure what "I Am Sterdam" means.
  • 12:35

    The parade is better than I expected. I especially enjoyed the man in a tracksuit waving and the native American on a bike  




  • 12:38
    Back to Alan Betson's photographs in Dublin.<br />Nothing unusual going on here.<br />  
    Back to Alan Betson's photographs in Dublin.
    Nothing unusual going on here.
     
  • 12:39
    The President is being interviewed by Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh over on RTE 1. He says the name of the day is officially being changed to St Patty's Day. I can't believe this is happening. It's a nightmare.  
  • 12:41
    Limerick's St Patrick's Day parade . . .<br /><br />Nope, we've no idea either.<br />  
    Limerick's St Patrick's Day parade . . .

    Nope, we've no idea either.
     
  • 12:42

    and here's the President's St Patrick's Day address    



    Who can stay mad at that face?  

  • 12:55
    Over on RTE 1 Des Cahill is explaining that the Garda horses on parade are named (these are the four I remember) Oscar, Fiachra, Donagh and Ruairi. These are brilliantly unhorsey names. I really hope they also have surnames... and PPS numbers maybe
  • 12:59
    Just a passer-by.<br />  
    Just a passer-by.
     
  • 13:00

    Oh my God. They're at it agan. In England they've herded the Irish into underground tunnels




    Only joking! This is how they're celebrating St Patrick's Day in the London Underground  

  • 13:05
    Quiz on RTE 1 - "Where does the Taoiseach present the bowl of shamrock to the President. Is it... the Green House, the White House or the Yellow House?" I know the answer. I'm going to win that goddamn quiz!  
  • 13:11
    Currently on parade - The Digital Eye - an image of what the young people think the future will look like, Des and Blathnaid tell us. We'll wear purple apparently and have a big digital hand and a disembodied brain ruling over us. Young people are terrifying. And yet... they are the future.  
  • 13:16
    We're not sure what it's about, but we like it.<br />  
    We're not sure what it's about, but we like it.
     
  • 13:19

    Over on Twitter ace comedian Tara Flynn is running a St Patrick's Day competition where you can win her books:  






  • 13:30
    A bit of Bowie there as a host of martians and a big red planet float down O'Connell Street.  
  • 13:31
    And now... bagpipes (if Munch's The Scream had a soundtrack...)
  • 13:45

    Puppet St Patrick is taking on a big snake! (don't be alarmed this is part of the Dublin parade)


    Exciting stuff  

  • 13:58
    This is happening. 
(the underwater leprechaun is 11 month old Tadhg Walsh who lives in Templemore, Co Tipperary, celebrating St Patrick's Day underwater at his Water Babies class)
    This is happening. (the underwater leprechaun is 11 month old Tadhg Walsh who lives in Templemore, Co Tipperary, celebrating St Patrick's Day underwater at his Water Babies class)
  • 14:03
    While our politicians are over in the US campaigning for the rights of the undocumented Irish in the US and while we're claiming that everyone in the world is a little bit Irish, here's a piece by Sorcha Pollak on the 26,000 undocumented migrants in Ireland
  • 14:15
    For every giddy celebrant passing the window there's a tourist moving solemnly along with a scowl on their face and massive leprechaun hat on their head. Wearing a leprechaun hat is not fun for them. Do they think it's our actual national dress? are they wearing it only to be respectful? These are troubling thoughts
  • 14:17
    Ronan McGreevy may have the answers. He's been out among the people  http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/the-world-comes-to-dublin-for-st-patrick-s-day-1.2576806
  • 14:27

    And here's Frank McNally writing about the colour green

    "It’s that time of year again when we colonise the world’s landmarks with our national colour, spreading green around the globe in a show of zeal that followers of the prophet Muhammad – whose banner was of the same hue – could hardly match."

  • 14:32

    Here's cartoon Johnny Marr playing guitar for some snakes... the implication seems to be that he's going to bring them back...

     


  • 14:33


  • 14:36
    So how many pagans did you convert to Christianity today? (I don't want to boast but I'm doing quite well)
    So how many pagans did you convert to Christianity today? (I don't want to boast but I'm doing quite well)
  • 14:40

    This is more like the Patrick's Day parades that I remember  

     


  • 14:48

    This is the first New York St Patrick's Day Parade to allow gay and lesbian groups to march under their own banners (one small group was permitted to march last year). The Lavendar and Green Alliance has been working for 25 years to have the ban lifted. 300 of them will be marching under their banner today. "Our hearts will be dancing," the head of the group, Brendan Fay, told the New York Times.  

     

  • 14:49
    And if you want to watch the New York Parade outside New York you can do so at www.irishtv.ie
  • 14:52
  • 15:05

    "Never mind football or hurling, bashing Dublin has long been the national sport. To understand the ills of the nation – how a government might fall or why you can’t build a house on your own land – just look to the capital. It’s the go-to reason for everything that is wrong about Ireland. In the popular imagination, Dublin is always busy bullying the rest of the country."


    Want to read Trevor White lamenting Ireland's love hate relationship with the capital? You can do so here.  

     

  • 15:08

    Oh dear. I meant to post this earlier. Seven things to do on St Patrick's Day without booze   Too late. And now you're totally plastered you big eejit.  

  • 15:23
    Variety magazine includes Far and Away among it's best Irish films of all time http://variety.com/gallery/10-irish-movies-that-we-love/ AND I AGREE WITH THEIR SELECTION
    Variety magazine includes Far and Away among it's best Irish films of all time http://variety.com/gallery/10-irish-movies-that-we-love/ AND I AGREE WITH THEIR SELECTION
  • 15:24
    Donald Clarke does not agree


  • 15:30

    On St Patrick's Day in 1916 the Irish Volunteers took to the streets in a show of force. Damien Cullen writes about the Irish Times reports from the time  (Meanwhile I'm off out to Temple Bar to see if I can militarise today's St Patrick's Day revellers)  

  • 15:36

    Here's the Irish Times roundup of parade fun from around the country



    On a darker note, Jedward are loose in Limerick  



  • 15:41
    Variety magazine includes Far and Away among it's best Irish films of all time http://variety.com/gallery/10-irish-movies-that-we-love/ AND I AGREE WITH THEIR SELECTION
    Variety magazine includes Far and Away among it's best Irish films of all time http://variety.com/gallery/10-irish-movies-that-we-love/ AND I AGREE WITH THEIR SELECTION
  • 15:41
    All in all, much less of this happening than I expected
    All in all, much less of this happening than I expected
  • 15:42
    But a lot more of this than I could have ever hoped for
    But a lot more of this than I could have ever hoped for
  • 15:45

    Chicago plumbers dyed their river green once again, as they have done since 1961  



    (they now use environmentally friendly vegetable dye, I'm told)

  • 15:50

    My favourite bit of the Dublin parade was this chap



    I'd no idea he ran the fire brigade!  



  • 15:51

    All in all, the parade really is a delightful freakfest


     



  • 15:55
    Anyway, that's all from me for this delightfully sunny St Patrick's Day. Enjoy the rest of your evening
  • 15:57

    I'll leave you with this once more. It truly is the crowning achievement of our civilisation