St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast

Published Sunday, 16 March 2014
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Thousands have attended Belfast's annual St Patrick's Carnival Parade in the city centre in what was deemed the biggest parade in recent years.

St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast
The St Patrick's Day Festival in Belfast had a futuristic theme (© Presseye)

This year's theme was 'St Patrick to the future' and the carnival re-imagined the patron saint as a time-travelling adventurer on a colourful journey to the future of Belfast on Sunday.

Leading the celebrations was the Patron Saint of Ireland and the Lord Mayor Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.

Featuring a number of eye-catching floats, the parade included a 'Back to The Future' flying DeLorean and a Doctor Who Tardis.

Former X Factor winner Shayne Ward performed a free concert at Custom House Square on Sunday afternoon as part of the city's fun-filled festivities.

A brand new Belfast song was premiered by a gigantic Beat Carnival Street Choir along with performances from Emerald Armada, Sontas, the Tir na nÓg Irish Dancers and the South Asian Dance Academy.

Mr Ó Muilleoir said: "This is certainly a fun, fantastic treat for all the family - from near and far, to Belfast today.

"We took the future as a theme because it is important that we concentrate on that and how life can be better for all of us. Belfast has really gotten into its stride being seen across the world as a forward thinking, attractive city with many advantages - particularly its young population.

'We have shown the world that we can put on a show and celebrate with the best of them," the Sinn Féin councillor added.

He said it was a day of unity.

Explaining why the parade was held a day early, he said: "What we wanted to do was, because St Patrick's Day isn't a public holiday, let's have an event everyone can attend.

"All the schools are closed today, there are no places of work really open and I think it's paid off for us."

He added: "It's the biggest turnout I've seen in some years on St Patrick's Day, great colour, lots of green, and what really thrills me is that 700 young people, from right across the city, the Shankill and the Falls, are leading the carnival parade."

Meanwhile, around the world famous landmarks have been lit up in green ahead of St Patrick's Day.

Lights were installed on the Great Wall of China, the Rhine Falls - Europe's largest waterfall, and at Whistler, the famous Canadian ski resort, to name but a few.

More than 100 buildings and sites around the world are taking part in Tourism Ireland's Global Greening 2014, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.

Brendan Howlin, minister for public expenditure in the Republic of Ireland, said "global greening" was going from strength to strength as he visited Beijing.

He said: "I am truly honoured to be here to count down to the first greening of the iconic Great Wall of China, or as we Irish call it today, the Green Wall of China."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
31 Comments
Royal Irish in Northern Ireland UK wrote (218 days ago):
@ollie, glad you enjoyed your day out, was Stanley with you?
Ollie in South Belfast wrote (218 days ago):
Great day out! Wonderful parade! My favourite day of the year :)
Adam in Belfast wrote (218 days ago):
Mark in North Belfast you've just went out of your way and took the time to read an article and write a comment on something that offends you.
steven in stormont wrote (219 days ago):
Just to correct those aforementioned, I am a protestant. I was able to take my family and kids to the celebrations. The day is a day for everyone, It's not a hijacked parade by republicans, there was a lot of tri colours and celtic tops sported by young ones. However the majority of the parade endeavoured to reach out to the whole community. There was as many foreign nationals attending as of locals. There were no paramilitary bands, no paramilitary slogans, the entertainment was culturally diverse on an international level. A lot of people wearing shamrock emblems. Most of all, it was safe and inviting, it had a friendly atmosphere. Something which I'm afraid the twelfth hasn't achieved. I hate to say that but it's true. People like Paul, saying it's a republican show are narrow minded and haven't attended.
Phil in Belfast wrote (219 days ago):
Strange to think all these tricolour waving people are supporting a Brit! Born in what is now Great Britain! Not an IRISHMAN AT ALL! Also perhaps they should remember that St Patrick's favourite colour, and the one that was originally associated with him, is BLUE!! Isn't it ironic?!
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