Happy St Patrick’s Day. Our live coverage has now ended. Here are some key points from the day:
- Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets US president Joe Biden in Washington
- Oil barons, broadswords and New York City cops: Conor Pope in Dublin city on St Patrick’s Day
- How did the patron saint of our shores find his way here? Éanna Ó Caollaí has you covered
- Test your Irishology knowledge with our 2023 St Patrick’s Day quiz
Our St Patrick’s Day liveblog has now ended. You can catch up on all of today’s news from events at home and abroad by scrolling through our posts below.
New York celebrates St Patrick’s Day
Donohoe welcomes spending on developing relations with Germany
Irish expenditure on deepening the State’s relations with Germany is money well spent, according to Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.
He was speaking at the end of a St Patrick’s Day tour that took him through Frankfurt and Cologne to Berlin
As well as receptions with members of the Irish community and political representatives in the three cities, he visited the new Irish consulate in Frankfurt, which has worked to boost relations in the state of Hesse and Germany’s southwest.
“I am thrilled by the progress I have seen being made, particularly in Frankfurt,” he said. “As always I want to see us do more. Anything that can underline the cultural interests of Germany in Ireland or Ireland in Germany is something I really want to support.”
Read more here.
Oil barons, broadswords and New York City cops as Dublin parade wows crowds
Conor Pope heads to Dublin city centre for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, read more here.
Half a million people attend St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin
A sea of green made up of half a million people descended on Dublin city centre for a St Patrick’s Day parade that organisers predicted would be “the biggest and best”.
Celebrations took place across the island of Ireland with massive crowds turning out to mark March 17th in towns and cities.
Many more watched Dublin’s 2023 parade, featuring 4,200 performers including marching bands, aerial acrobats and vibrant costumes, live on television.
Parade attendees showed up in leprechaun hats, dyed-green beards and emerald scarves.
Along the busy parade barrier, children were perched on the shoulders of their parents to get a view of colourful dancers, brass bands and carefully constructed floats.
Locals watched from apartment windows along the route, cheering and waving Irish tricolour flags above street level.
The parade centred around the theme of “One” to “shine a light on all the goodness that surrounds us” by protecting and embracing global traditions, culture and heritage.
The parade started at Parnell Square, snaking its way through some of the city’s most popular thoroughfares such as O’Connell Street and College Green before culminating on Kevin Street. – PA
Gardaí block small far-right group from Dublin parade
Gardaí stopped a small group of far-right protesters from accessing the route of the St Patrick’s Day parade in central Dublin on Friday. At least one arrest was made and while other people were led away by gardaí, it was not immediately clear if they had been arrested.
There were scuffles between Garda members and some of the protesters in the area of Grattan Bridge, linking Capel Street and Parliament Street. Gardaí blocked the group, which numbered about 50 people, from continuing down the north quays towards the route of the Dublin parade at O’Connell Street.
Read more on this story here.
Thousands turn out in Belfast for the festivities
Ravers in furry rainbow leg warmers, teenage punks and pipe bands danced and sang along together in a music-themed St Patrick’s Day parade in Belfast.
Crowds were six-deep outside City Hall as thousands lined the streets and a DJ atop an enormous float roared “shake club style” to deafening cheers and whistles.
A jazz band belted out a rousing When the Saints go Marching In followed by Ballyclare bagpipers and traditional Irish musicians before a funk group sang Jive Talkin’.
This year’s event celebrated Belfast’s Unesco City of Music status in recognition of its rich musical heritage.
Billed as the Voices of Belfast parade, it was staged by the arts organisation, Beat Carnival.
Stewards handed out green shamrock flags to the huge number of children and tourists as the rain managed to hold off.
Local arts groups, including The Duncairn and Féile an Phobail, took part with some dressed as giant cellos and accordions while Irish dancers and an Indian dance group performed.
Lord Mayor of Belfast Tina Black led the parade accompanied by a dance troupe which included adults with learning disabilities kitted out in St Patrick’s costumes.
“It’s surprising, it’s more like a carnival that we would see in Paris with local youth groups and schools,” says French tourist Denis De Pret, dressed in a large green hat and wig.
“We came here as we wanted to discover what St Patrick means in Ireland, it’s less traditional what we expected but it’s exciting. Each group went through different types of music in time, I got it.
“I’m a big rugby fan and heading to Dublin tomorrow, but tonight we want to hear more music in Belfast and meet local people.” Seanín Graham
Here are a selection of images from St Patrick’s Day parades across the country.
Ceol agus craic in Sligo
Sligo was turned into the country’s traditional music HQ over the weekend, according to the parade organisers who chose “ceol agus craic” as the theme for this year’s event.
Thousands of people turned out to view the parade, which celebrated local sporting achievements while also reflecting the county’s strong musical tradition.
Local businessman Finbarr Filan said the festivities were extending over three days, with 20 venues hosting music sessions on a “traditional trail” around the town.
“We’re delighted to be showcasing so much local talent,” said Mr Filan who said they were also pleased to welcome a strong contingent from the Sligo-based Ukrainian community.
A 400-year-old music tradition was also being celebrated in counties Sligo and Leitrim with a group of mummers wearing the traditional straw headdresses out in force at parades in Carrick-on-Shannon, Mohill and Ballymote.
Courtesy of the Sowing the Seed project and local sean-nós dance club, Áirc Damhsa Culture Club, many of the participants grew the oats used to make their distinctive headgear.
Dancer Edwina Guckian, who revived the tradition of mumming in Leitrim with local singer Fionnuala Maxwell and musician Brian Mostyn, said anyone who enjoyed the performances on St Patrick’s Day might be in a position to join them next year.
Next Wednesday the group will be distributing organic oat seeds at a number of venues throughout Leitrim and anyone who wishes to be a mummer can grow their own straw for the headgear. ”All you need is 2sq m for a hat,” said Ms Guckian, who also said the performers go house to house at Christmastime, entertaining families with a selection of songs, dance and stories.
In Boyle, Co Roscommon, they were also celebrating local talent. The parade on Friday afternoon was led by the Boyle Celtic under-16 girls team, who remain unbeaten this season.
Also entertaining the crowds were the young members of Music Generation Roscommon. Marese McDonagh
Sanctuary runners take on grand marshal role in Cork
The Sanctuary runners were a sea of blue in matching tops as the group, which brings together asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and Irish residents, served as the Grand Marshals at the Cork Patrick’s day parade on Friday.
Ireland has over 10,000 Sanctuary Runners in thirty five groups across Ireland. One hundred members of the Cork group, who hail from countries all over the world, led the parade which got under way at 1pm with 50,000 spectators lining the route.
Sanctuary Runners founder and chief executive Graham Clifford said the parade was all about bringing “positive energy to the streets of Cork.”
“Cork is a huge part of us, and we of Cork so to get this recognition is just amazing. Now more than ever our work to bring all the community together in solidarity, friendship and respect is so important and the people of Cork, those who have lived here all their lives and those who have moved here from elsewhere, have always supported us.”
Cork celebrated its largest ever parade with 3,500 participants representing 55 groups with a theme, A Century of Stories. The parade got under way at 1pm from the South Mall and travelled down Grand Parade and Patrick’s Street to Merchant’s Quay.
Participants from closer to home included The Barrack Street band which was founded in 1837. Other local entries included members of the Joan Denise Moriarty School of Dance, Neptune Basketball Club, Cork Puppetry Company, Bodran Bookhills from Joseph’s NS, the Rebel Wheelers and the Defence Forces Band.
US participants included 350 students from the University of Florida Gator Marching Band and Grandview High School Wolf Pride Band from Denver in Colorado.
Other participants included the Aatma Indian dance troupe who last year treated spectators to a surprise marriage proposal on the parade route. Troupe member Lorenzo Zanca proposed to his fellow member and girlfriend of two years, Manasi Nadkarni, who jumped his arms and said “Yes.”
Meanwhile, in the county Macroom hosted over 120 visitors from Philadelphia with members of the Woodland String Band taking part in the parade. A group of 169 people had travelled from the American city in March of 2020 to participate in the parade in the town.
Instead they had to quarantine for a week in the Castle Hotel in Macroom. Today the American contingent were able to participate in the festivities.
Members of the Woodland String Band have been coming to Macroom for the parade for over two decades. They also perform in parades in the States and kicked off their St Patrick’s Day celebrations as far back as March 6th when they took part in the Gloucester City parade.
In a Facebook post the band said Macroom is like their second home.
“Through the years we have made friendships that have grown, attended weddings, celebrated births and mourned losses. We were there during the foot and mouth, the coldest St Patrick’s day in over fifty years and on our last trip in 2020 we were there when all international flights were halted. We were there when this occurred and Covid became ‘real.’
Through all this there has never been a step missed by the folks in Macroom or the folks in our groups.” - Olivia Kelleher
Varadkar promises to ‘roll out the red carpet’ for Biden during White House talks
US president Joe Biden has said he very strongly supports the Windsor framework, the new post-Brexit legal agreement between the UK and the EU on Northern Ireland, writes Pat Leahy in Washington.
Speaking at a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on Friday, Mr Biden also thanked Ireland for supporting Ukraine.
Mr Varadkar told Mr Biden that his support and understanding for Ireland’s position on Brexit in recent years “had really made a difference”.
He said “we have got to a good place” with the new framework.
A parade in Newbridge so nice, it ran twice
The Newbridge St Patrick’s Day Parade today was so good they did it twice.
Organisers decided in advance to split the march in two and the motor vehicles which take part every year, from hot rod enthusiasts to local businesses’ lorries, got their own cavalcade ahead of the main parade.
Parade committee PRO Morgan McCabe said this was because of the size of this year’s event – the largest ever, with over 60 participating groups.
The Great Newbridge Motorcade, which included Kildare Fire Service, the Sunday Cruisers motorcyclists, Kildare Vintage Cars and Leinster 4x4 Voluntary Response, roared first through the town to the delight of young and old who braved the steady rain.
The theme of the day was Celebrating The Curragh – in a nod to the nearby plains, home to the Defence Forces Centre, parade sponsors the Curragh Racecourse and St Brigid of legend.
A military colour party accompanied by modern and vintage army vehicles – the latter from the Military Museum on the Curragh – kicked off the community element of the parade.
St Patrick was accompanied by an Irish Wolfhound and a traditional piper.
There was an international flavour to events, with traditional dancers from the Kildare Filipino Community and members of the Kildare Chinese Cultural Association bringing a splash of bright colour to the rainy, grey streets.
Rival Moorefield and Sarsfield GAA players showed off their skills amid a myriad of local sports teams taking part. Newbridge Rugby Club got huge cheers pushing one of their scrum machines up Main Street.
Young local dancers from Stage Academy and the Leah Moran Stage School entertained the crowds.
RTÉ broadcaster and Newbridge local Brenda Donohoe emceed the parade in her usual inimitable style from the viewing stand in front of the local Town Hall. – Laura Coates
Some 40,000 line Galway city streets for parade
Up to 40,000 spectators lined the streets of Galway for this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade with the event reaching its climax in Eyre Square at lunchtime.
Undeterred by early morning showers, crowds were up to 20-deep in places, in prime position to catch a glimpse of the more than 2,800 participants.
The festivities served as a lap of honour for outgoing Director of Rugby at Connacht Rugby, Andy Friend, who served as Joint Grand Marshall ahead of his departure from the province this Summer.
He was joined at the helm by 11-year-old Saoirse Ruane, the Galway girl who captured the hearts of the nation after appearing on the Late Late Toy Show in 2021 following her brave battle with childhood cancer.
The rain cleared as the parade snaked through the city centre, with over 60 groups represented.
A Galway City Council spokesperson hailed it the biggest St Patrick’s Festival to date.
“We had 1,400 taking part last year; this year it’s 2,800 so there’s been huge interest in it,” they said.
Among those to take part was the Joint Ukraine Community in Galway, made up of Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in the city over the past year – offering a ‘message of thanks’ to the people of Galway for the warm welcome they have received.
Community groups and sports organisations spanning GAA, rugby, soccer, judo and cricket were represented, as were several city schools and Scouts groups.
The St Patrick’s Brass Band provided the atmosphere as members of the Defence Forces, emergency services and Galway’s maritime community paraded through the streets.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim, Indian, Filipino and Polish communities celebrated the city’s diversity, joined by United Women Galway which supports migrant women of more than 30 nationalities.
The final spectacle of the afternoon came from Galway’s own Macnas, as the internationally acclaimed theatre company’s stilt-walkers, musicians and dancers drew the parade to a close.
Festivities continue throughout the weekend with free live entertainment in Eyre Square, a celebration of the city’s film industry and a family sports day in Salthill Park. – Stephen Corrigan
Balbriggan braves the downpour
Balbriggan is making the most of the day, despite the inclement weather, with a main street full of spectators and those taking part in the parade.
Killarney shop celebrates St Patrick’s Day centenary
In Killarney, St Patrick’s Day is regarded as the day of good beginnings, from planting potatoes to opening a business.
In the centre of the Kerry town, a corner shop and newsagent’s is celebrating 100 years of unbroken service.
Healy’s, at 86 New Street, was opened after the late Christy returned from his travels in the US, anticipating new ways of doing business seven days a week.
March 1923 was a turbulent time for Kerry, with the Civil War raging, but Healy made a point of opening the business on the most auspicious day of the year.
The custom still holds. A new bakery opened its doors last year on St Patrick’s Day in New Street, and the day is also the traditional annual start of the now multimillion euro tourist season in the town.
Killarney has changed much in recent years, but the taste of customers has stayed largely the same, says Aileen O’Brien, who runs it with her mother Angela, a fixture behind the counter for 70 years.
‘The big thing is ham. People love the sliced ham and they come here for it,’ said Aileen.
‘It’s the way it’s cut,’ she said. – Anne Lucey
Fry-ups, 99s, the M50, pubs, craic and the rain: What Irish people abroad miss (and don’t miss) about Ireland
For anyone tuning in to our ongoing coverage from abroad, here’s a few things you might be missing about home today.
Tullamore parade celebrates multiple anniversaries
Five major marching bands were among the highlights of the 40th anniversary St Patrick’s Parade in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
The usual mix of community groups, schools, sporting organisations, music groups and dancing schools joined in the celebrations which failed to be dampened by the rain.
Joint grand marshalls parade chairman Johnny O’Connor and secretary Sean O’Brien explained that the parade’s 40th anniversary was being shared with Tullamore Camogie Club celebrating its 50th anniversary and the local credit union which is celebrating 60 years, making it a special community event. Other anniversaries being marked on the day were Tullamore GAA (135 years) and Irish National Foresters (124 years).
Coincidentally, the visiting Army Band from Athlone is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
The theme of this year’s parade, apart from the anniversaries, was Tidy Towns – A Community Effort, which was reflected in many of the entrants, especially the Tidy Town’s own float which had been sponsored specially for the event.
Tullamore Comhaltas performers braved the rain to perform before the parade at the review stand while local coffee shop Chocolate Brown was doing brisk business given its location directly on the parade route. Window seats were at a premium.
One of the most popular floats – by virtue of the fact they were throwing lollipops into the crowd – was the Offaly Search & Recovery team – which “floated” by in a rigid inflatable, closely followed by the Tullamore Trad Fest entry which took the opportunity to promote their forthcoming event (March 31st to April 2nd), as did the Beat on the Peat music festival which is scheduled for July.
Fortunately for all the rain lifted within 20 minutes of the prompt start of the parade which swelled the numbers of spectators to an estimated 10,000, much to the delight of the grand marshals for whom this event is a labour of love – even after 40 years. – Vivienne Clarke
Dublin city centre parade gets under way
The parade in Dublin city centre is now under way. It began at noon from Parnell Square North and will make its way down O’Connell Street before crossing the River Liffey and proceeding on to Dame Street, Lord Edward Street, Nicholas Street, Patrick Street before finishing up on Kevin Street near St Stephen’s Green.
Thousands of spectators have lined the capital’s streets to see floats, marching bands and some of the other 4,000 participants from around the world. The Republic of Ireland women’s football team and their team manager Vera Pauw will serve as the parade’s grand marshall alongside international guest of honour, actor Patrick Duffy.
An early march in Co Kerry
Ireland’s earliest parade on its most westerly peninsula took place early on Friday morning. The Dingle Fife and Drum Band headed out at around 6am, well before dawn, to parade in the red and black of Dingle, through the narrow streets to the port and back up to St Mary’s Church in heavy rain.
Huge crowds joined in to follow the drums and by the time it reached the church with daylight breaking hundreds had joined in.
The congregation were led into the church by the drummers.
The Co Kerry parade has been held annually since 1880 and is said to have begun in order to avoid a daytime ban on parades at the time in Dingle. – Anne Lucey
Going One Direction to Washington
Apart from the politicians flying the flag abroad for St Patrick’s Day, one of the country’s most popular musicians is also set to visit the White House on Friday.
Niall Horan has been invited to perform at the home of US president Joe Biden in Washington DC. It’s been a long road from his first X Factor audition back in 2010, through to his time in One Direction before a successful solo career for the Westmeath man.
Six Nations: Ireland v England
For anyone thinking further ahead than Friday evening, Ireland are set to take on England in the Six Nations at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. We’ve got a full preview of the fixture including teams, kick-off time, how to watch it on TV and more over in our sports sections.
Andy Farrell’s men are looking to become just the fourth Irish team to win the Grand Slam, and the first since 2018. Star player Johnny Sexton will no doubt be hoping for a win just that little bit more than the rest of the team – the match will be his final Six Nations appearance.
Guest of honour
At a media briefing ahead of the parade in Dublin, international guest of honour Patrick Duffy was presented with a birthday cake.
With a name like his and a birthday on March 17th, the man who was world famous as Bobby Ewing in Dallas would seem to have wrapped up the Irish-American bingo from the get go.
But he came to his Irishness late. “The town that I was born in in Montana had a population of 600. Growing up, I didn’t know what the rest of the country of America was let alone what was going on globally,” he told The Irish Times.
“Nor did I appreciate at that age, as I think a lot of young people don’t appreciate what my heritage was, and what the historical significance of it was, or even what the history of Ireland was. I just knew I got a birthday cake in the shape of a shamrock or a hat or something like that.” – Conor Pope
Biden to host Varadkar at White House
Away from the parade floats and green hats, US president Joe Biden will host Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Friday for a meeting where they will express support for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the recent deal between Britain and the European Union on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, the White House said.
The leaders will meet in the White House for a St Patrick’s Day celebration and will also discuss support for Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday.
The issue of Northern Ireland has been one of the most contentious related to Britain’s 2020 departure from the European Union. A return to a hard border between the province and Ireland, an EU member, could have jeopardised the peace deal.
Mr Biden, who often speaks with pride of his Irish roots, had welcomed the agreement reached last month between Britain and the EU, and described it as an “essential step” to ensuring that the peace from the Good Friday Agreement was preserved.
Meanwhile, the usual exodus of Irish politicians across the globe for St Patrick’s Day is in full swing. Tánaiste Micheál Martin is in New York, Minister for Transport, Climate, Environment & Communications Eamon Ryan is in China and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe is in Germany. – Additional reporting Reuters
Dublin parade route
If you’re heading to the parade in Dublin city, here’s a map of the route. The capital’s parade runs from noon until 2.30pm. The theme is We Are One and is intended to reflect the diversity of the people now living in Dublin. The Ireland women’s football team and their manager Vera Pauw, who made history by qualifying for this year’s World Cup for the first time, will act as grand marshal.
Bring the brolly for the morning but you may be able to leave it wrapped up in the afternoon at times. Met Éireann has predicted cloudy and drizzly conditions in the morning but the afternoon and evening look set to experience brighter intervals. Some scattered showers, with some heavy, may be seen with potential for a few isolated thunderstorms over Connacht. Temperatures are set to range between 11 and 14 degrees.
Getting there – public transport
If you’re heading along to any parades by public transport today, be sure to check with operators for any diversions or changes to services.
🚌 Dublin Bus: A Sunday timetable service will be in place on Friday and a number of diversions will remain in place until Monday, March 20th. No real time information will be available until approximately 6pm. However, a Nitelink service will run on Friday and Saturday nights. See their website for more information.
🚊 Luas: The Red and Green lines will operate a Sunday service. To facilitate the parade, several stops will be closed. On the Green line, there will be no trams running between St Stephen’s Green and Dominick until 7pm while the Red line will see its service curtailed between Smithfield and The Point from 10am until 3pm.
🚆 Irish Rail: Tara Street station in Dublin city centre will be closed until 4pm. Additional services are operating on several intercity route including Sligo/Longford/Maynooth to Dublin Connolly and Belfast to Connolly. Several late night services have also been put in place to Maynooth, Greystones, Howth, Dundalk and Kildare from the city centre.
🚍 Bus Éireann: Multiple Bus Éireann and Expressway services, operating to a Sunday timetable, will be disrupted by parades taking place across the country. A full list of diversions is available on their website.