DUBLIN (AFP) – Hundreds of thousands of revellers took to the streets ofMonday for celebrations to mark the annual national holiday.
An estimated half a million people watched the country’s biggest event in the capital, Dublin, where a 3,000-strong parade snaked its way through the city centre.
The procession was bolstered by 16 marching bands from countries including Ireland, Japan, Italy and the United States and members of Ireland’s burgeoning immigrant population.
Other parades were held across the country while a cross-community, multi-cultural parade was held in.
, who reviewed the pageant, said the event was particularly poignant because it was the first since a power-sharing government was set up in last May.
“This year, more than any in our recent past, is one to savour with special joy,” she said.
“The welcome return of devolved government to Northern Ireland has brought to the island of Ireland a promising era of peace, prosperity and partnership,” she added.
Saint Patrick was a fifth century Christian missionary who is the Catholic country’s patron saint.