The 2015 St Patrick’s Day Festival has come to an end, after a tremendous weekend of fun in the glorious sunshine in Cork City. The weather isn’t always nice for Saint Patrick’s Day, with March in Ireland usually providing a little bit of every season, but the clear blue skies and sunny rays really added an extra enjoyable element to this year’s festivities.
The City was beaming over the weekend, as the infusion of sparkling colours took hold. The main stage on Patrick’s Street began hosting acts on Saturday and Sunday, and The Saint Patrick’s Festival was well and truly under way. The shoppers and passers-by seemed to enjoy the carnival atmosphere that was bubbling under nicely, ahead of the big day itself on Tuesday.
The parade itself kicked off at 1pm from South Mall, with Grand Marshal George Hook in great spirits as he led from the front. The spirit of the occasion had clearly invigorated the famous Corkonian, as he doled out the high fives and stopped for pictures with many spectators along the way. The Armed Forces were following closely behind, bridging the gap between the exuberant parade leader and the many wonderful floats and displays that were swiftly rolling through the streets of Cork City.
The theme of the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was Cultural Concepts, which proved to be an inspired choice. The cultural concepts that were unveiled to the vast crowds, with an estimated crowd of 65,000 people in attendance, came together in a stunning blast of colour. As you will see from the images we managed to take on the day, there was a tremendous mix of diverse and colourful displays throughout, with the traditional Cork favourites like the Dowtcha Puppets and Cork Community Art Link bringing their typical vibrant works to the onlookers. The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is a great occasion to display so many great diverse Cork groups together, with everything from face painters and dance groups marching alongside several different Cork historical societies, including Middle Parish and Coal Quay Historical Society, who won the Best Overall Entry award for their brilliant entry. Their costumed participants displayed the elegant formal wear of 1920’s high society while marching through the streets atop stilts. It was a fantastic sight to witness from the crowd, and a truly worthy winner.
With the streets adorned with stalls throughout the city centre, it was impossible to escape the enticing smells of great food and drink wherever we went. Of course, we had to give in eventually. A round of Barracuda Burgers from the Barracuda Barbeque Company kept us all very satisfied, and gave us the strength to keep going throughout the day. With the Fleadhs and the craic in plentiful supply, Saint Patrick’s Day itself was a very welcome day of unwinding with our nearest and dearest. The vibrant colours, enthralling parade displays and great music all day long kept the whole city in great spirits. Roll on Saint Patrick’s Day 2016!