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Costume and dance groups on O'Connell Street take part in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin. Leah Farrell/
Lá fhéile Pádraig

St Patrick's Day celebrations take place across the country

The national parade kicked off on Parnell Square in the capital at 12pm.

ST PATRICK’S DAY celebrations are taking place in towns and cities across the country this afternoon, with an estimated 500,000 people gathered in Dublin to watch the parade. 

The national parade got underway on Parnell Square in the capital at 12pm under the stewardship of this year’s Grand Marshall, Patrick Kielty, who described Ireland’s national day as “the biggest party in the world”.

The Late Late Show presenter said that as a man called Patrick, who is from Downpatrick in Co Down, and who attended St Patrick’s School, he was “the proudest man in Ireland”.

The TV presenter said that it was “a massive honour” to be the grand marshal, adding it was “emotional” for him.

746Patricks Day Parade_90701361 Members of the police forces on horses on Dame Street as they take part in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin. Leon Farrell / Leon Farrell / /

“To be the Patrick at the front of this parade is one of the proudest moments of my life,” he said.

Crowds of people from home and abroad wearing shamrock-shaped sunglasses, Irish jerseys and leprechaun hats were wowed by a selection of colourful floats and musical performances in what has been billed as the biggest ever national parade.

Among the 4,000 participants were a group examining the theme and the circular economy, a showpiece called ‘Dublin Seagulls’, as well as 14 marching bands from across Ireland, North America and France.

773Patricks Day Parade_90701379 Floats on Dame Street taking part in the St Patrick's Day parade. Leon Farrell / Leon Farrell / /

A group of dancers and marchers representing the Ukrainian communities of Dublin also took part, the first time they have done so since arriving here as refugees in 2022.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Spréach”, the Irish word for spark, which is said to represent “the unique essence of Ireland and of Irish People”.

“It’s what sets us apart and what brings us together, and oftentimes it’s the reason that people from all over the world have a special place in their hearts for Irish people, place and culture,” the organisers said. 

761Patricks Day Parade_90701373 Irish traditional bands wearing Aran jumpers playing on O'Connell Street take part in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin. Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

In a new aspect, a ‘quiet space’ was set up near College Green for 1,000 neurodivergent people and their families which has sensory areas and where the volume of noise from the festivities is reduced. 

A Festival Quarter at Collins Barracks is open until 6pm on Sunday, with music, food stalls and games for children.

Elsewhere, Galway’s parade kicked off at 11.30am, marking the highlight of a three-day celebration of Irish culture in the city.

Cork’s parade set off at 1pm. The theme of the parade is “Pure Imagination”, with sport groups, dance schools and brass bands taking part. 

Parades also took place in counties Limerick, Kilkenny, Waterford, and Belfast. 

Across the pond in the US, the famous New York City parade is set to kick off at 3pm Irish time.

Irish Rail has said it will be operating a Sunday service today, with extra DART and Commuter services operating before and after the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin.

Commuters are being advised to allow sufficient time to travel to the parade.

Tara Street Station will be closed today until 4pm to facilitate Garda crowd management arrangements. People should use Connolly or Pearse Stations during this time.

A revised timetable is in place for Intercity routes. Details are available on or the Iarnród Éireann app. 

There will be a number of diversions in place for Dublin Bus services until 5pm today. 

A full breakdown of diversions and further information can be found on the Dublin Bus website

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