Just came back from the parade - I was able to watch it about 200 metres from my apartment, which reminds me how glad I am that I chose such a central location. It makes finding a bite to eat (at home) and changing clothes for the next adventure (at home) quite convenient.
This was my first Patrick's Day parade in Ireland, and I was quite excited, because it has to be the largest and most public way that Ireland performs her identity for herself, for the tourists, and to the world. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I did think it would be big.
I was right, but it was not big in some of the ways I expected. For one, there seemed to be a real emphasis on bicycle or people-powered floats. There were lots of huge puppets operated by groundlings, and usually one person cycling, while others helped to push the float from behind. In some of my pics, you can see them struggling to get up the hill on Dame St. at Parliament. Only a few floats were gasoline-powered, and this was a nice surprise. I mean, I barely made it through all the cigarette smoke that surrounded me on Dame Street - burning fuel would not have been very pleasant. Most of the large spectacle items were animal figures, which I guess fits with the whole pagan thing, and the colours were bright and lively. There was an artisanal feel to many of the large puppets, which was a nice contrast with, say, all the plastic used in the Pride parade in Toronto.
There was hardly a nationalist inkling in site - in fact, there seemed to be an absence of demonstrably "Irish" elements. A few Irish cities/counties had contingents - Donegal, Waterford, Belfast, and there was an international presence as well - I saw Madrid, something from Italy, a group that looked like they were in traditional Indian garb, and a couple of African-themed groups. The most random one had the be the North Carolina State Marching Band. I was like, WTF? Overall, I would say that the multiculturalism of the parade - the presence of different ethnicities - outweighed the visibility of different ethnicities that I encounter on my wanderings around Dublin. But I don't really wander all that far around Dublin, so whaddoIknow?
The crowds were upbeat, but as far as I could tell, not really drunk yet, so that was a relief. Someone told me to wear wellies because it can get that messy outside. But right now, in my very central apartment, it's once again quiet outside, and the barriers on the street were coming down as the last group of cyclists passed by.
Anyway, off I go to other Patrick's Day adventures. Just needed to dump the SD card, recharge the camera battery, and fuel myself.
The pics below show my wanderings around Temple Bar and O'Connell/the Quays before the parade began, the parade itself, and then my street afterward. I had an ok position on the street, but there are lots of heads in the shots, so please skim through quickly!