500,000 expected at Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day parade

Dublin’s St Patrick’s Parade will see about 500,000 throng the city streets today.

The parade – whose theme this year is storytelling – begins at 12pm at Dublin’s Parnell Square, led by Grand Marshals Deirdre O’Kane and Jason Byrne.

Street theatre and pageant companies from across Ireland and the world will join together today to present ‘Scéalaíocht agus Seanchaí’.

Magnificent creations and flamboyant performances, inspired by long lost legends and contemporary Irish experiences, will weave through the streets of the the city as bands from far and wide bring dynamic rhythms to the event.

It is the highlight of a five-day schedule of events (festival website here). Yesterday’s Ceili Mor was called off due to high winds, and has been rescheduled for Monday.

CEO of the Festival Susan Kirby said: “There’s plenty happening till Monday. We’re expecting reasonable weather today and tomorrow, so everybody will be able to come in any enjoy the festival.”

Road closures are already underway in parts of the city centre (and remain in place until 6pm).

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina are attending mass at Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral this morning before going on to the parade.

The President has already sent a message of goodwill to Irish people at home and abroad, reflecting that “going green” has now the added relevance of caring for the environment.

Meanwhile in Galway, a special spectacle is in store for people turning out to watch the parade.

Macnas will be bringing its magic to the city including a drumming troupe of teens aged 15 to 19.

The parade kicks off in Galway at 11.30am and will feature a celebration of the dance between shadow and light.

Performance facilitator with Macnas Debbie Wright said the young ensemble’s piece to music is all about birds and fight and flight.

Road diversions and closures

Road closures will be in place across many towns and cities across the country today, to facilitate parades.

Lauren Beehan from AA Roadwatch said most cities and towns had several road closures.

She advised motorists who are not attending a parade to keep to motorways and bypasses to avoid diversions.

Public transport will also have altered timetables, with possible diversions.

The AA will continue to keep motorists up-to-date with changes and closures, through their website and social media (twitter here).