St Patrick’s Day revellers celebrate in sunshine
Hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to cities, towns and villages throughout Ireland to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
With fine weather across the country, many colourful parades basked in the spring sunshine, adding to the festive atmosphere on the national day of celebration.
More than half a million revellers turned central Dublin into a sea of green for the largest parade.
Thousands of performers and outsized puppets, including elephants and rabbits, snaked their way along the 2.5km route from Parnell Square across the Liffey to St Patrick’s Cathedral over several hours in the afternoon.
Disability rights campaigner Joanne O’Riordan, 19, led the parade – the youngest ever Grand Marshal.
Berkeley police and fire departments, who travelled from California in the US to honour the victims and survivors of the Berkeley balcony collapse, were cheered along the route.
The second largest gathering was in Limerick.
More than 80,000 onlookers packed the city’s streets to watch Grand Marshal and local actor Myles Breen lead the parade from Pery Square.
The Fanzini Brothers and Jedward made guest appearances among the throng of performers.
In Belfast, thousands turned out to see Lord Mayor Arder Carson lead a colourful Rainbow-themed carnival from City Hall to Custom House Square.
Community groups from across the cultural spectrum took part, while former X Factor winner Ben Haenow and ex-Westlife member Brian McFadden headlined a free concert at Custom House Square.
A 50,000-strong crowd cheered on Cork’s main spectacle.
Instead of a Grand Marshal, the city’s parade was led by actors playing the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation of Independence.
Another 30,000 people made their way into Galway city centre, where the theme of the day was 1916 and the city’s bid for the 2020 European Capital of Culture.
While parades and celebrations took place around the world, even some in space were celebrating Ireland’s national holiday.
British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted a picture of Ireland from the International Space Station, where he is working for six months.
“The Emerald Isle looking lush and green from space…Happy #StPatricksDay to all down there!” he said.