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Floats pass through Dame Street in Dublin city centre today Leah Farrell/
St Patrick's Day

Pictured: Hundreds of thousands take to streets of Ireland for St Patrick's Day parades

Around 500,000 people attended the parade in Dublin, the country’s largest parade.

AROUND HALF A million people lined the streets of Dublin this afternoon to catch a glimpse of the country’s largest St Patrick’s Day parade.

Hundreds of thousands of parade-goers turned out for annual events across the country today, when crowds were wowed by musical performances, floats, street-theatre, and pageantry.

In Dublin, more than 3,000 people took part in the capital’s parade, whose theme celebrated Irish storytelling.

Organisers estimated that more than 100,000 overseas visitors joined the home crowd, enjoying around two hours of performances which brought to life various tales and narratives of Ireland and the Irish.

Deirdre O’Kane and Jason Byrne were this year’s Grand Marshals, and highlights included an appearance by President Michael D Higgins and a flyover by the Irish Air Corps, their first time taking part in annual parade.

ST Patricks 45_90566710 Grand Marschals Jason Byrne and Deirdre O’Kane at the St Patricks Parade in Dublin Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

St Patrick's Day 2019 The St Patrick's Day Parade on O'Connell Bridge in Dublin city centre SIPA USA / PA Images SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

The parade was a particular highlight for Lord Mayor Nial Ring, who said it was an honour to be able to partake in the event.

“From sitting on my Dad’s shoulders to standing on a ladder to watch the parade I have many fond memories of it,” he said.

“This year I was able to go in the Lord Mayor’s coach and review the festival parade from outside the historic GPO. [I'm] still pinching myself.”

Meanwhile, Olympian Rob Heffernan led events in Cork city, which kicked off at around 1pm.

Organisers estimated that around 50,000 people attended to see more than 3,000 community groups take part to showcase the theme of the stories of Cork.

CMK17032019_St Patricks Parade Cork City_048 Saint Patrick pictured at the 2019 Cork St. Patrick’s Day Parade Clare Keogh Clare Keogh

CMK17032019_St Patricks Parade Cork City_058 Grand marshal Rob Heffernan and his wife Marion Heffernan leads the parade in Cork Clare Keogh Clare Keogh

Around 32,000 people also attended a parade along O’Connell Street in Limerick, where the theme celebrated 50 years since the moon landing.

Grand marshal Dr Norah Patten led a parade with dozens of participants and floats, which also paid tribute to the city.

Saint Patricks LIMK 0035 Lumen street theatre One Giant Leap, taking part in Limericks Saint Patrick's Day parade True Media True Media

Speaking at the annual St Patrick’s Day reception at Áras an Uachtaráin this evening, President Michael D Higgins said the day was a time when the global Irish family could “join together to celebrate our Irish culture and heritage”.

“On this St Patrick’s Day, when we celebrate the life of St Patrick… we also celebrate and offer to the world those aspects of our values that make us uniquely Irish,” he said.

“In doing so, let us resolve to build together a fairer Ireland, an Ireland that treasures all of its people equally, and understands that a nation that has truly progressed, is one that encompasses all of its people, regarding the full participation of all citizens as a fundamental right.”

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