What expats are doing for St Pat’s
St Patrick’s Day means much more to emigrants than it does to people in Ireland. Several Irish people abroad describe what they’ll be doing on March 17th
C o-founder of the Irish Families in Perth social network and mother of Laoise (2)
To provide an alternative for families who didn’t want to bring their kids to the pub on St Patrick’s Day, Irish Families in Perth organised a meet up in Whiteman Park last year, with a barbecue, Irish music and activities for the children. From there, the idea formed to restart the parade, which stopped four years ago.
The mayor of Vincent, Alannah McTiernan, who has Irish heritage, was really keen on hosting the parade in Leederville, about 3km from central Perth. We formed a committee and secured sponsorship from iiNet, a broadband company run by Irish businessman Michael Malone. The amount of work we have put in to arrange fundraising, traffic management, permits and insurance has been huge, so I’m really looking forward to the day now.
We have 30 groups set up to participate in the parade, including eight floats, three marching bands, local GAA clubs, local businesses with Irish connections, and the Claddagh Association, which provides welfare assistance to the Irish community. The parade will begin at 10am and end in the local football grounds, where there will be a family fun day with Irish music and dancing, a ceremony for people who have become Australian citizens, and the GAA clubs’ summer league finals.
For the older Irish community in Perth to have a younger generation of Irish people settling here and creating an event to celebrate Irishness is something very exciting. The day is about bringing together all the Irish community groups for one annual event to celebrate our heritage.
G rand marshal of the New York City’s St Patrick’s Day Parade
My great grandfather, who was four-time governor of New York, was grand marshal in 1925, and I am honoured to have been selected to follow in his footsteps and lead the biggest parade in the world this year.
I have always embraced my Irish roots, and have been involved in the Irish community in New York City for many years, but this is the icing on the cake.
The parade will be held on Saturday this year. There will be a breakfast at the mayor’s residence, Gracie Mansion, followed by a Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The 200 marching groups will then begin to gather for the parade, which I will lead on foot, departing from 44th Street, marching up Fifth Avenue, past the cathedral to 79th Street.
The parade is now in its 252nd year – it is a great New York tradition that I feel truly lucky to be part of.
Generation Emigration is the Irish Times forum by and for citizens abroad. Website: irishtimes.com/generationemigration. Twitter: @genemigration