Crowds a little down on last year but still enthusiastic
‘I come because it’s a day we’re proud to be Irish’
Crowds during the Dublin St Patrick’s Day parade, which made its way down O’Connell Street towards St Patrick’s Cathedral. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
The crowds in Dublin were noticeably smaller than for last year’s Gathering celebrations, but those who were there were as enthusiastic as ever. For Daniela Lionetti, it was her seventh visit to Ireland for St Patrick’s Day.
She was wearing a giant hat into which most of a large furry leprechaun had vanished, leaving only its legs visible. “I live in Venice and I would swap Venice with Dublin any time,” she said. “It’s the atmosphere. I can dress up without feeling silly. I couldn’t wear this hat in Venice.”
“Enda Kenny? Who’s she?” asked Sheila Dewhirst, who left Co Kildare in 1958 and now lives in Yorkshire. Dewhirst was visiting on a coach tour with 50 others, including her sister, Evelyn Faulkner.
Both sisters were clad almost entirely in green: scarves, berets, jumpers, earrings. “And socks,” Dewhirst pointed out, pulling up her trouser leg. “We might have left a long time ago, but we’re still definitely Irish,” she said.
Her sister Evelyn was still puzzling over the identity of Enda Kenny. “Did she take over from Mary McAleese?”
Meanwhile, the human-sized leprechaun busily posing for pictures at the Molly Malone statue on College Green wasn’t taking any chances. His large crock of gold had a clear protective lid over it, with a small hole for donations. The money within might as well have been at the end of the rainbow, for all the chances an unpatriotic and light-fingered member of the public had of getting it.
The Cassidy family from Rathfarnham, Dublin – Jenny, Jim and their children James (9) and Juliette (7), were in for their annual visit to the parade.
“I like the way they use their imagination in the parade,”James volunteered. “I come because it’s a day we’re proud to be Irish,” Jenny added. “Listen to all the accents – French, Spanish, Italian, American. They’re all here because of us and that’s something to be proud of.”