Updated: Jun 10
I have only been able to attend this event once in 2012 as it often fall on Mothers Day, but it is a great day out and a lot of fun.
The St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in central London is now in its 14th year, and celebrates the deep roots that the Irish Communities have in London and the energy, humour and vibrance that they bring to London and the whole of the UK. This years theme is ‘World of Dance’ and both Irish and non Irish bands and dance groups will be taking part, as well as pageantry, floats, marching bands and sports clubs.
The parade starts around 12:00 from Green Park Tube Station and then proceeds along Piccadilly, down to Regents Street towards Trafalgar Square and finishing on Whitehall. Trafalgar Square is normally filled with other events, Irish food market, children’s activities and lots of Irish community organisations, and there is usually some great Irish music, song and dance on the main stage.
I found that the best spots for photography are at the beginning and the end of the parade as there are less crowds and there is usually a lot more going on. Trafalgar Square is another area to go to either before or after the event.
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and was born in Briton around 385AD. As a boy of 14 he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in slavery herding sheep. He returned to Ireland in his 30s as a missionary and is reported to have used the native shamrock as a symbol of the holy trinity when preaching among the Celtic pagans.
Green is the colour of Ireland because wearing green, eating green food and even drinking green beer, is said to commemorate St Patrick’s use of the shamrock. However blue was the original colour of St Patrick’s vestments, and Guinness is usually drunk in preferred to green beer.
London’s Parade is small in comparisons to other cities with New York’s being the largest whilst Dublin has a parade that attracts hundreds of thousands of people, and in Chicago the river is dyed green for a few hours.