St Patrick Day : Thousands Expected For Dublin Parade

Source : http://www.irishtimes.com

Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world are expected to throng the streets of Dublin today for the annual St Patrick’s Day parade.

The two-hour spectacle will see street theatre troupes, artists, giant puppetry, dancers and marching bands from Ireland and further afield weave the 2.5km route across the capital.

The parade, made up of around 2,000 performers and over 900 marching band members, gets underway at noon from Parnell Square North and is the highlight of the capital’s six-day St Patrick’s weekend festival.

And in a special move to mark the GAA’s 125th anniversary, the four All-Ireland winning captains will be lining out as joint Grand Marshals.

Tyrone Football captain Brian Dooher, Kilkenny Hurling’s Henry Shefflin, Cork footballer Angela Walsh and Cathriona Foley of the Cork Camogie squad were selected to lead the massive march.

The stars represent the four winning teams in the senior cup championships and have been selected for their achievements on the fields of play, as well as to mark the momentous anniversary.

Previous grand marshals have included Eamonn Coughlan in 2008, Micheal O’Muircheartaigh in 2007 and the late Ronnie Drew in 2006.

International marching bands will join the parade from as far a field as New Mexico, Indiana, Las Vegas, Colorado, Louisiana, Florida, Italy, Germany, British Columbia and Canada.

The Parade Ceremonial Section will be led by the Army Band, the Band of An Garda Siochana and Dublin Fire Brigade of Pipes and Drums.

Festivities began in the capital last Thursday and will continue until tonight.

As well as the parade, a funfair is being held in Merrion Square, and for the energetic, Aware is holding a harbour-to-harbour charity walk from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, starting at 10.30am.

Gardaí are warning that road closures will be in operation in Dublin from 7am to 4pm.

“An Garda Siochana have consulted widely with the community with a view to minimising the disruption to the public generally and in particular to those residents and business people in the affected areas,” a Garda spokesman said.

Meanwhile in the US, Taoiseach Brian Cowen will meet president Barack Obama at the White House and present him with the traditional bowl of shamrocks.

This will be the first time St Patrick’s Day will be celebrated at the White House since both President Obama and the Taoiseach took office.

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