Saint Patrick’s Day - A global celebration

THE DAY might be drawing to a close, and the Guinness might be running out, but it’s clear that St Patrick’s Day is a feast day celebrated across the world.

More than half a million people packed Dublin city centre today as the annual St Patrick’s Day parade got under way.

Every man, woman and child - whether from Tralee or Timbuktu - could call themselves Irish for the day as they soaked up the sights and sounds of the nation’s favourite holiday.

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“What other country can bring people from all around the world to celebrate its own culture?” said Stephanie Reimer, from Canada.

The city centre was a melting pot of nationalities, with visitors travelling from as far as Japan to experience the world’s most significant St Patrick’s Day bash.

But Dublin was not the only place to go green for Ireland’s patron saint.

Belfast held its own St Patrick’s Day Festival in the city centre, with a parade, carnival and free open-air rock concert.

And thousands of proud citizens all over the Emerald Isle took part in their own parades and parties - from Wexford to Cork and Donegal to Derry.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, a flock of sheep joined some of the most famous landmarks in the world as part of a marketing stunt to mark Saint Patrick’s Day.

Along with the London Eye, Niagara Falls, the Empire State Building and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Bathgate flock have taken on an emerald hue to celebrate the popular day.

The activity is part of a global initiative by Tourism Ireland which will also see other Scottish landmarks including the Clyde Auditorium, the Wheel of Glasgow and the Camera Obscura museum change colour.

And finally, in the United States, there were countless celebrations across the country, with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny travelling to Chicago, and Vice-President Joe Biden sporting a lurid green tie for his part in the Pittsburgh St Patrick’s Day parade.

But all eyes were on Washington D.C., as President Barack O’Bama - temporarily restylising his name for the occasion - enjoyed a pint of Guinness in The Dubliner Bar with his ancestral cousins, just a short distance from the White House, which had its ponds and fountains coloured green.

Well, why not?

‘Beannachtai nai Feile Padraig’ - Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, to all our readers, wherever you may be.