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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 12°C

500,000 people, 1 event… It’s the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in numbers

…and not a raincoat between them.


‘Shamrock’ the dog at the 2009 parade [PETER MORRISON/AP/Press Association Images]

LOVE IT OR loath it — unless there’s a massive sudden outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease*in the next few hours, the country’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parade will kick off in Dublin at midday today.

Led by Grand Marshal Stephen Roche, and featuring a guest appearance from beyond the grave by slain High King Brian Boru — the parade begins from Parnell Square and takes its traditional route down O’Connell Street, across to Dame Street and around to St Patrick’s Cathederal.

Expect various Viking hordes to feature strongly, as the city marks 1,000 years since the Battle of Clontarf and Boru’s famous clash with the Nordic forces of King Sitric.

The annual parade is the culmination of months of planning — and a massive effort, involving hundreds of man hours, has been taking place over the last few days to get everything ‘just so’ in time for the off.

Just how many man hours, you ask? Here’s the Dublin St. Patrick’s Parade in numbers…


[Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images]

HALF A MILLION: The number of people expected in the city centre today as the event takes place.

UNKNOWN: (But probably marginally less than half a million) little green hats.

NINE THOUSAND: Metres of crowd control barriers.

ONE THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED: Man hours needed to erect the route barriers.

OVER ONE HUNDRED: ‘Dead Zoo’-inspired performers from ‘Buí Bolg’, outfitted as butterflies, jellyfish and dinosaur skeletons.

ONE HUNDRED: Performers from the ‘Inishowen Carnival Group’, including a giant merman and ‘wave-dancers’.

TWELVE: Articulated trucks full of infrastructure

EIGHT: Pageant companies in total, including Macnas — and ‘Spraoi’ who’ll be bringing the events of 1014 back to life.

EIGHT: Marching bands from the US of A

THREE: Marching bands from elsewhere: Germany, Estonia… and Clondalkin.

ONE. St Patrick himself.

ZERO. Snakes (see above).


Look at him there. Isn’t he great? [Photocall Ireland]

*The 2001 parade was postponed until May due to an outbreak of the livestock disease.

Read: Iconic ‘Battle of Clontarf’ painting returns to Dublin 3 … from Hawaii

Read: Our Hidden Ireland guides to some of Ireland’s most amazing historical sites

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