Forty shades of green

by Gazette Reporter
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THE St Patrick’s Day festival in Swords reached new heights this year with a number of new elements added to the itinerary; the most notable of these was the opening of Swords Castle to the public.
The castle, along with the council offices and numerous community centres, was lit up with green lights.
The entire grounds were opened including the chapel, and the constable’s tower, and different posters telling the history of the castle were hung on the walls.
The parade started at 11.30am and lasted about an hour and a half, with an array of pipe bands, dancing groups, community/sporting groups and a convoy of colourful floats.
According to Cllr Duncan Smith (Lab), this year’s festival and parade were the best attended of all he had been to.
Meanwhile, in the city, a sea of green, white and orange poured through the streets for the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade and festivities.
Approximately half a million people lined the city streets between Parnell Square and St Patrick’s Cathedral to witness the nation’s largest celebration.
This year’s parade adopted the theme of Celebrate Now, in recognition of Ireland’s contemporary arts and culture exploits. Featuring bands and performers from around the world, this year’s procession was led by the grand marshal, comedian Brendan O’Carroll.
At noon on the dot, the Lord Mayor’s horse-drawn carriage started the parade, trailing behind St Patrick himself
Loud cheers then followed as O’Carroll and his wife, Jennifer Gibney, rode past in a vintage car, waving and shouting classic Mrs Brown lines that many know so well.
The day was soon brought to life by leading pageant companies from around the world, displaying some fantastic creations and thrilling performances.
Amidst the colourful pageantry, bands from the USA, Mexico, Germany and Ireland delivered uplifting scores and inspiring rhythms. This spectacular procession then followed its route through the heart of Dublin city, bursting with colour and theatrics.
Throughout the duration of the parade, The Gazette asked a number of foreign visitors how their day was going and what they thought of the city on this national day of celebration.
Prasanth Sukumar, from India, attended the parade with his wife and two young children. Speaking to The Gazette he said that this year’s festival was by far the most colourful he had seen.
He said: “The floats and performances are really fantastic and there seems to be a lot of life from everyone taking part in this year’s parade.
“Out of all the St Patrick’s Day parades I’ve seen, this one is definitely the most colourful.”
A high school class from Florida who came to Dublin especially for the parade and its festivities said they were overwhelmed with the friendliness and hospitality they received during their stay.
Ramon Garcia, from Spain, who went to the parade with his wife, daughter and twin sons said: “It was a really good idea to come out to the parade this morning.
“Everyone seems to have smiles on their faces, and you get so much more out of the parade compared to watching it on the TV.”

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