Street-theatre, pageant companies and marching bands from across Ireland and the world, more than 3,000 people in total, joined together today for the National St. Patrick’s Festival Parade - SCÉALAÍOCHT AGUS SEANCHAÍ – A Celebration of Irish Storytelling. Half a million people lined the Parade route to enjoy the magnificent creations and flamboyant performances, more than 100,000 overseas visitors joining the home crowd to cheer on performers from across the globe. Inspired by the Festival’s storytelling theme, a myriad of performers brought to life the ancient tales and contemporary narratives of Ireland and the Irish. Comedic storytellers Deirdre O’Kane and Jason Byrne had the honour of leading the Parade as Grand Marshals.
Six magical Pageant Companies wowed the crowds on the streets of Dublin - Artastic (Kildare), Walk the Plank (Dublin and Manchester), Buí Bolg (Wexford), Spraoi (Waterford), Inishowen Carnival Group (Donegal) and Dowtcha (Cork). They were joined by Marching Bands from across the world, weaving their way through Ireland’s capital city in a dazzling spectacle of pageantry and musical scores, one of the biggest street festivals in the world.
The largest pageant was Donegal’s Inishowen Carnival Group with 100 performers. The company is celebrating 26 years of carnival activity and have been taking part in the Dublin Parade for 22 years. Once again Buí Bolg from Wexford presented some of the largest Parade creations, a giant Fiddle (5 metres), Drum (4.7 metres) and Harp (4.2 metres) which played music to the attending crowds, while characters danced and swayed, becoming the living embodiment of the music.
Leading the Parade with 101 members was the Wauwutosa East Red Raider Marching Band from Wisconsin, U.S.A. which featured three drum majors and a choreographed colour guard. A show-stopping performance was seen by Iowa’s Panther Marching Band, 133 members strong and almost 90 metres in length, featuring dancers and flag bearers. Bringing up the rear was the lively 61 member Spirit of Saginaw band, entertaining the crowds with true Texan enthusiasm!
Speaking about the Festival Parade, CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival, Susan Kirby said; “the calibre of pageants and marching bands at the Parade each year is superb, and this year it was spectacular. The Parade is a wonderful and proud reflection of the abundance of artistic talent that we have here in Ireland and also an incredible global showcase of our rich culture and heritage as the Parade is streamed live internationally. Many thanks to all of those who came along to enjoy the day and we hope many more will enjoy the full programme of events over the remainder of the Festival.”
Read full Press Release here.