17 March 2006

Thousands turn out for St Patrick's parades

17 March 2006 17:11

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMore than 500,000 people turned out to watch the St Patrick's Day parades around the country today, though cold weather meant that attendances were down on last year. (photo: O'Connell St, Dublin)

Some 400,000 people lined the streets of Dublin to watch more than 2,000 participants from Ireland and the United States as well as groups from Togo, Bangladesh and Shanghai march through the city.

More than 50,000 people turned out to watch the parade in Cork, some 55,000 in Galway, approximately 30,000 in Limerick and about 30,000 in Waterford.
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An estimated 5,000 attended a parade and concert in Belfast, where the parade was officially recognised by the City Council for the first time.

So far all festivities have been peaceful and there have been no reports of arrests or disturbances.

Millions of people around the world are also joining in the celebrations. Hundreds of cities including New York, Sydney and Singapore are marking the event with street festivals and parades.

President's St Patrick's Day message

The President, Mary McAleese, has said St Patrick's Day is a one off celebration for Irish people and their friends at home and abroad.

The President said the Ireland of today was vibrant, cosmopolitan and filled with energy and that international relations were playing an important part in our maturing as a nation.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Primate, Archbishop Seán Brady has warned against celebrating St Patrick without referring to his Christian faith.

In his message for the national feast day, Archbishop Brady says today unites Irish people everywhere and that the national saint has become a symbol of Irish history and heritage.

However, the Archbishop of Armagh warns that simply reducing St Patrick to this without referring to his Christian faith distorts the truth.

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