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St Patrick’s Day celebrations are taking place across the world.
The feast of the Irish saint on 17 March is being celebrated from Australia to Dubai to the United States.
More than 400 landmarks in more than 50 countries are turning the appropriate colour as part of Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening initiative.
Parades have begun in Belfast and Downpatrick in Northern Ireland, as well as in Dublin.
The annual parade in Downpatrick began with its traditional vintage rally through the town.
In Dublin big crowds gathered along the route of the parade, which was attended by Irish President Michael D Higgins.
London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh are among other cities hosting parades and festivals.
Who was St Patrick?
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he lived in the 5th century AD and is understood to have played a major part in converting the Irish to Christianity.
While St Patrick really existed, and some of his writings survive, his value does not really come from historical details but from the inspiration of a man who returned to the country where he had been a child slave, in order to bring the message of Christ.
He is traditionally associated with the shamrock plant, which he used to explain the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
It is believed he is buried in Downpatrick, County Down.
Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Vardakar travelled to Washington DC for St Patrick’s Day celebrations at the White House last Thursday.
As is tradition, he presented US President Donald Trump with a bowl of shamrock.
Here are some of the main St Patrick’s Day events across the island of Ireland:
- A carnival parade from Belfast City Hall at 12:30 GMT – traffic restrictions and diversions in place
- Free concert at Custom House Square featuring The Vengaboys, Catherine McGrath and Ryan Sheridan, from 13.30-1600. Entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis
- St George’s Market is offering a “real taste” of Ireland with traditional fayre and Irish music
- Féile an Earraigh has been running from 1 March and there’s a range of events over 17 and 18 March.
- Cross-community carnival parade through the town centre from 13:00
- Family fun at St Patrick Square, from 12:00 to 16:00, includes live music, dancing and petting zoo
- Full programme of events in Downpatrick.
- St Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival parade in Derry from 14:00, starts Bishops Street car park. This year’s theme is Tir na nÓg or Land of the Youth in Irish mythology.
- St Patrick’s Greeting in The Shambles Yard at 12:15, involving Archbishop Eamon Martin, head of Ireland’s Catholic Church, and Archbishop Richard Clarke, Anglican Primate of All Ireland
- Family fun afternoon in The Shambles Yard, from 13:00 to 16:00
- A community-organised parade will assemble on the CBS all-weather pitch at Greenpark for a 14:30 kick-off. The council-run parade took place on Saturday.
- Full programme for the council’s St Patrick’s Festival, which has been running since 8 March.
- Cross-community carnival parade leaves the Albert Basin at 13:00.
- Family fun on Hill Street with street performances, face painting, and arts and crafts. From 12:00 to 16:00.
- Full programme of events in Newry.
- There’ll be festival fun from 13:30 to 15:30 at the Broadmeadow, with plenty of free activities including bouncy castles, balloon modellers and face painting
- Wakeboarding leprechauns and St Patrick himself will make a spectacular arrival via Castle Island
- Parade will start from the Lakeland Forum at 15:30. This year’s theme is an environmentally-friendly Go Green in 19.
- Full programme of events in Enniskillen and Omagh.
- The annual parade is the centrepiece of the city’s St Patrick’s Festival, which runs from 14 to 18 March and this year’s theme is Storytelling
- The parade starts in Parnell Square North at 12:00.
- Full festival programme
A number of events are also being held in England and Scotland, including:
- The 17th annual St Patrick’s Day festival will be taking place in the capital from 12:00, with festivities continuing until 18:00.
- The theme of this year’s event is #LondonIsOpen
- The parade will begin at Green Park and make its way through Picadilly to Trafalgar Square
- Full festival details .
- Events will be taking place across the weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day
- The Cowgate St Patrick’s Festival has been taking place since Friday, and will feature a performance from Jedward
- A family-friendly day of Irish culture is being held from 15:00 on the Portabello Promenade as part of Edinburgh’s Festival of Ireland.
- Up to 80,000 people are expected to attend the parade in the city, which will run along Digbeth High Street from 12:00 to 14:00.
- Traditional music legend Finbar Furey will also be in town to take part in the St Pat Rocks event, which will be staged in the Zellig Car Park at the Custard Factor from 15:00.
- The St Patrick’s Day parade took place in the city last weekend
- The Manchester Irish Festival has been taking place since the start of March, culminating on Sunday
- As number of comedy and music events will be taking place as part of the festivities
- A full programme is available on the festival’s website.