Holidays St. Patrick's Day Top

St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin had a mammoth, but no snakes

The sheer sound of the marching bands in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day was practically thunderous.

DUBLIN – A rainy grey afternoon in March may not appear to be the most promising way to showcase a country, but St. Patrick’s Day – Ireland’s national holiday – attracted thousands from all corners of the world.

The celebration has been around for over 1,000 years and is recognized as far away as America. It’s the day when Irish heritage is celebrated at its strongest, and takes place every year on March 17th, no matter what day of the week it falls on.

The streets were packed to the brim with people waiting for the main event – the parade. (Vivien Nesbitt/YJI)

The three-day celebration came to its finale on Sunday, the most important day of the national holiday, as Irish, Spanish, American, French and British people – and those from many other nationalities – gathered in and around the city to don as much green face paint as was physically possible.

I arrived in the city an hour before the parade, the celebration’s highlight, was set to begin, and the city was already the busiest I’ve ever seen it.

People lined the streets in bright shades of green, white, and orange, making it a very colorful sight.

Parade goers clad in the national colors. (Vivien Nesbitt/YJI)

To get to the parade, you just had to follow the direction of the crowd, as it travelled practically one-way to O’Connell Bridge and the center of the city.

For the people who arrived at 5 in the morning for a parade that wouldn’t start until midday, the best view was theirs to take, right up at the front of the barriers. For everyone else, standing on benches, hiding in the windows of Irish pubs, and balancing on the rims of trash bins were much better options than staying at the back of the huge crowds.

Naturally, it being Ireland, the parade started late. It’s practically an Irish mannerism that 12 o’clock means at least half 12.

But it got going very quickly once it started, with the Irish defense forces leading the procession of performers.

The Irish fire brigade. (Vivien Nesbitt/YJI)

The police, the Irish Navy, the fire brigade, and even tax collectors filled the streets, clad in uniforms and waving flags at the bustling crowd.

A multitude of marching bands then followed, ranging from young children to professional musicians and performers.

Not all the floats had some traditional meaning. One had a real ‘Wow!’ factor, another was just a wooly mammoth-like creature. (Vivien Nesbitt/YJI)

This float displays the second national symbol of Ireland, Mr. Tayto, named after the Tayto crisp snack. (Vivien Nesbitt/YJI)
Celebrating the LGBTQ community, which has a strong place in Ireland. (Vivien Nesbitt/YJI)

At left, Scottish bagpipers and at right, a stall on the street selling Irish scarves, flags, face paint, jewelry and more. (Vivien Nesbitt/YJI)

Ireland showcasing some of its younger talent. (Vivien Nesbitt/YJI)

Floats of all different colors and styles trailed in their wake, blaring our traditional music to the roaring crowds.

I spotted a float dedicated to Mr. Tayto, our country’s second most recognizable symbol after the leprechaun, a soccer ball and soccer boot to celebrate the Irish women’s team, several drag queens to demonstrate the country’s LGBTQ+ support, and many more floats all celebrating the Irish spirit.

As the parade ended, the streets were still packed to the brim with tourists, people from different parts of the country, and anyone just there to have a good time and celebrate in the most Irish way there is.

We even had some sunshine.

Vivien Nesbitt is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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