If there is one thing that the Irish excel at is it celebrating and at no other time of year more than St. Patrick's Day do they know how to celebrate and party harder. I have found that my children love the sights, sounds and colours of the parades happening all over the world, whether live at our local parade or watching the worldwide parades on TV, so to celebrate the Festival of Saint Patrick we list our favourite Saint Patrick's Day parades.
Where else would you start with a list of St. Patrick's Day parades than the home of Guinness, leprechauns and Riverdance - Dublin? The major point of celebration in Dublin is the parade that winds its way through Dublin City Centre down O'Connell Street all the way to St. Patrick's Cathedral. As well as this Dublin ran with a 'Greening the City' theme as many landmark buildings around the capital were lit up in Irish Green colours, including the GPO and Trinity College.
On top of this there were walking tours around the ancient parts of the city with tour guides providing history on the Patron Saint of Ireland and his influence on the city. The highlight though is the parade that had a theme of 'Past' for 2014 and for anyone who celebrates this day of Irishness it is a must see event as part of the four day festival put on by the city of Dublin.
- New York
New York has always been a second home to Ireland so it is no surprise to note that the Big Apple hosts the largest Saint Patrick's Day parade in the world. On average there are more than 150,000 marchers involved in the parade that goes along a 1.5 mile route on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, while there are generally around two million spectators in the heart of New York to watch the parade.
On top of the parade, there is plenty of Irish tradition happening around the Big Apple with the Irish New York walking tours and Irish craft fairs in Central Park to keep locals and tourists alike in the spirit of the day.
Chicago has a massive Irish population and they are one of the largest ethnic groupings in the city so you're always guaranteed a great parade in the Windy City. Well, at least when it's allowed to run as it was suspended for 2010 and 2011 as the parade had gotten too large to handle safely, but due to local businesses and the Catholic Church campaigning for it to be reinstated the parade returned in 2012.
Chicago has one of the most visually stunning sights anywhere in the world for Saint Patrick's Day as the Chicago River is dyed green. This spectacle alone, let alone the colourful parade down Western Avenue from 103rd to 115th, makes Chicago a must visit for Saint Patrick's Day.
With the recent emigration trend from Ireland to Australia, the parades Down Under have grown and grown in popularity. This year saw massive amounts of rainfall in Sydney but, in the usual Irish tradition the rain did not stop the celebrations, as people lined the route from Sydney Town Hall all the way to Hyde Park where more traditional Irish dancing and music completed a day of enjoyment.
If you can make it all the way to Australia for St. Patrick's Day you will be in for a treat with so many Irish people around to celebrate the day!
On top of the wonderful sights and sounds of a St. Patrick's Day parade for yourself and your children, I've always found that the excitement and delight of the spectacle tends to wear down children and allow them to have an early night. This gives you the chance to celebrate like the Irish in the evening with a few drinks, some gambling - such as sports betting, online poker and online bingo - or by dressing in green and dancing the night away! Check out some bingo at Butlers Bingo, a great UK favourite. In the meantime check out these great St Patricks Day images!