Sunny
63°
Sunny
Hi 77° | Lo 49°

Revelers worldwide start to mark St. Patrick’s Day

  • A spectator looks on as the Chicago River is dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March, 16, 2013. With the holiday itself falling on a Sunday, many celebrations were scheduled  for Saturday because of religious observances. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

    A spectator looks on as the Chicago River is dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March, 16, 2013. With the holiday itself falling on a Sunday, many celebrations were scheduled for Saturday because of religious observances. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Members of the Petri School of Irish Dance perform at the Ireland Chamber of Commerce 17th annual St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, in New York,  Saturday, March 16, 2013. The Irish, their descendants and the Irish for the day prepared to don green and pay tribute to Hibernian heritage as a weekend of St. Patrick's Day celebrations was set from New York's Fifth Avenue to the Louisiana bayou to Dublin's Parnell Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Members of the Petri School of Irish Dance perform at the Ireland Chamber of Commerce 17th annual St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, in New York, Saturday, March 16, 2013. The Irish, their descendants and the Irish for the day prepared to don green and pay tribute to Hibernian heritage as a weekend of St. Patrick's Day celebrations was set from New York's Fifth Avenue to the Louisiana bayou to Dublin's Parnell Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, right, meets with Damien and Glenda Moore, of Brooklyn, N.Y., at the 17th annual Ireland Chamber of Commerce St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, in New York,  Saturday, March 16, 2013. The couple lost their two young sons who were swept from their mother's arms by the violent sea at the height of Superstorm Sandy.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, right, meets with Damien and Glenda Moore, of Brooklyn, N.Y., at the 17th annual Ireland Chamber of Commerce St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, in New York, Saturday, March 16, 2013. The couple lost their two young sons who were swept from their mother's arms by the violent sea at the height of Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, right, meets with Damien and Glenda Moore, of Brooklyn, N.Y., at the 17th annual Ireland Chamber of Commerce St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, in New York,  Saturday, March 16, 2013. The couple lost their two young sons who were swept from their mother's arms by the violent sea at the height of Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, right, meets with Damien and Glenda Moore, of Brooklyn, N.Y., at the 17th annual Ireland Chamber of Commerce St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, in New York, Saturday, March 16, 2013. The couple lost their two young sons who were swept from their mother's arms by the violent sea at the height of Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Parade grand marshal and third-generation Savannahian Jimmy Ray, left, shakes hands with supporters after receiving the traditional blessing from Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, center, during the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Saturday, March 16, 2013, in Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

    Parade grand marshal and third-generation Savannahian Jimmy Ray, left, shakes hands with supporters after receiving the traditional blessing from Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, center, during the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Saturday, March 16, 2013, in Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

  • People dance during a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, March 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

    People dance during a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, March 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

  • John Shepard and Gena Damento of Rochester Minn., take a photo of themselves kissing after the Chicago River was dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March, 16, 2013.  With the holiday itself falling on a Sunday, many celebrations were scheduled instead for Saturday because of religious observances. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

    John Shepard and Gena Damento of Rochester Minn., take a photo of themselves kissing after the Chicago River was dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March, 16, 2013. With the holiday itself falling on a Sunday, many celebrations were scheduled instead for Saturday because of religious observances. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • A spectator looks on as the Chicago River is dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March, 16, 2013. With the holiday itself falling on a Sunday, many celebrations were scheduled  for Saturday because of religious observances. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
  • Members of the Petri School of Irish Dance perform at the Ireland Chamber of Commerce 17th annual St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, in New York,  Saturday, March 16, 2013. The Irish, their descendants and the Irish for the day prepared to don green and pay tribute to Hibernian heritage as a weekend of St. Patrick's Day celebrations was set from New York's Fifth Avenue to the Louisiana bayou to Dublin's Parnell Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
  • Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, right, meets with Damien and Glenda Moore, of Brooklyn, N.Y., at the 17th annual Ireland Chamber of Commerce St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, in New York,  Saturday, March 16, 2013. The couple lost their two young sons who were swept from their mother's arms by the violent sea at the height of Superstorm Sandy.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
  • Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, right, meets with Damien and Glenda Moore, of Brooklyn, N.Y., at the 17th annual Ireland Chamber of Commerce St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, in New York,  Saturday, March 16, 2013. The couple lost their two young sons who were swept from their mother's arms by the violent sea at the height of Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
  • Parade grand marshal and third-generation Savannahian Jimmy Ray, left, shakes hands with supporters after receiving the traditional blessing from Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, center, during the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Saturday, March 16, 2013, in Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)
  • People dance during a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, March 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
  • John Shepard and Gena Damento of Rochester Minn., take a photo of themselves kissing after the Chicago River was dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March, 16, 2013.  With the holiday itself falling on a Sunday, many celebrations were scheduled instead for Saturday because of religious observances. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Crowds cheered and bagpipes bellowed as New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade kicked off yesterday, and people with a fondness for anything Irish began a weekend of festivities from the Louisiana bayou to Dublin.

With the holiday itself falling on a Sunday, many celebrations were scheduled instead for yesterday because of religious observances.

In New York, the massive parade, which predates the United States, was led by 750 members of the New York Army National Guard. The 1st Battalion of the 69th Infantry has been marching in the parade since 1851.

Michael Bloomberg took in his last St. Patrick’s Day parade as mayor, waving to a cheering crowd as snowflakes fell on Fifth Avenue. Marching just behind him was Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who presented Bloomberg with a historic Irish teapot earlier.

“The Irish are found in every borough, every corner of New York,” Kenny said at a holiday breakfast. “In previous generations they came heartbroken and hungry, in search of new life, new hope; today they come in search of opportunity to work in finance, fashion, film.”

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the parade route in New York, cheering the marching bands, dance troupes and politicians.

“We’re crazy, the Irish, we’re funny and we talk to everyone,” said 23-year-old Lauren Dawson, of Paramus, N.J., who came to her first St. Patrick’s Day parade yesterday.

In downtown Chicago, thousands along the Chicago River cheered as workers on a boat dumped dye into the water, turning it a bright fluorescent green for at least a few hours in an eye-catching local custom.

In a sea of people in green shirts, coats, hats, sunglasses and even wigs and beards, 29-year-old Ben May managed to stand out. The Elkhart, Ind., man wore a full leprechaun costume, complete with a tall green hat he had to hold onto in the wind.

“I’ve got a little Irish in me, so I’m supporting the cause,” he said.

May bought the outfit online to wear to Notre Dame football games. But he figured it was fitting for this occasion, too.

“I probably will get to drink for free,” he said, after posing for a photograph with a group of women.

“That’s what I’m hoping,” said his girlfriend, Angela Gibson.

Kenny, who visited Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day last year, was again making the holiday a jumping-off point for an extended trip to the U.S., with stops in Washington and on the West Coast over the ensuing several days.

“I will use my visit to promote Ireland’s many strengths and to further reinforce our deep and abiding political and economic relationship with the United States,” Kenny said in a statement this week.

He and President Obama were to meet at the White House on Tuesday, and Kenny was to give Obama shamrocks, a tradition that dates to Harry S. Truman’s administration. Obama also was slated to meet the Protestant and Catholic leaders of Northern Ireland’s cross-community government, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.