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St Patrick’s Day celebrations return to Ireland after two-year Covid absence

St Patrick’s Day celebrations return to Ireland after two-year Covid absence

Cities, towns and villages across the island are marking March 17 after the easing of coronavirus restrictions

St Patrick’s Day celebrations are taking place across Ireland, with massive crowds expected on the streets of Dublin, after Covid-19 led to events being cancelled over the last two years.

Cities, towns and villages across the island are marking March 17 after the easing of coronavirus restrictions, with up to 400,000 people expected to attend the traditional parade in Dublin and many more watching it live on TV.

In March 2020, swathes of St Patrick’s Day plans were cancelled with the onset of the global pandemic, with parades axed in Dublin and Belfast.

This year, in Dublin, the parade will begin at Parnell Square and go through O’Connell Street and around College Green, before making its way down Lord Edward Street and ending in Kevin Street at around 2pm.

Olympic boxer Kellie Harrington and Paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane will be grand marshals.

The Tokyo gold medal-winning boxer described the opportunity to parade through her local streets as “fantastic”.

“For myself and Ellen to be grand marshals, two female athletes, it’s amazing and it shows the strength in female sport, it’s always been there,” she told the PA news agency.

“To be chosen to walk through our city as grand marshals is fantastic. It’s great to show younger kids coming up that if they work hard they can achieve anything.

“I am not just representing myself, I’m representing the people of Ireland and the people of my community. It’s not every day that people from the inner city get to be a grand marshal and I’ve really got the backing of them all and they are all really delighted.

“I went to the parade in Dublin when I was a kid with my three brothers, and so many friends went as well.”

Hollywood actor John C Reilly will be the international guest of honour at the Dublin parade.

The Irish-American said it is a great opportunity to “spread joy” during a difficult time in the world.

Dressed in a green tweed suit from Dublin’s famed Louis Copeland & Sons store, Mr Reilly said he is excited to take part in the celebrations.

Anna McGowan, interim director at the St Patrick’s Festival, said it is emotional to see the return of the parade.

She said: “It’s been three calendar years since the last parade and there’s so many people whose lives are about putting on a show, and to be able to do that this year, and to welcome people back on to the streets of Dublin for our national days, it is so emotional and so important.

“I’m thrilled to be back.

“This parade will be bigger and brighter than ever before. We’ve been able to double the creative content in the parade.

“We’re also just thrilled to be able to welcome back our international marching bands to Dublin, so that’s going to be fantastic.

“The theme this year is connections. It’s all about inviting people to reconnect with each other after a really tough two years that we’ve had.

“We want people to come back into the streets of Dublin, into your towns and connect with each other. We enjoy those moments together and come back together.

“We will also have an opening moment to show Ireland’s solidarity with Ukraine. Irish people have a strong sense of support and we want to show that part of Irish people.”

In Belfast, the first parade since 2019 will leave City Hall at 1pm.

Organisers said the theme will be “We are all Patrick, we are all Belfast”.

The parade will travel along Donegall Place, into High Street, Bridge Street and Waring Street and finish in Donegall Street close to Writers Square.

Content provided by Radio NewsHub. Originally published on 2022-03-17 11:40:00.

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