Belfast St Patrick's parade turns city into sea of green
Sci-fi theme as thousands enjoy annual parade
Belfast city centre was turned 40 shades of green as thousands came out to celebrate a St Patrick's Day with a sci-fi twist.
Festival-goers went back to the future yesterday as a time-travelling St Patrick led the annual carnival parade from the front of the City Hall.
The streets were lined with many colours – but mostly green – as throngs of people watched the parade wind its way down Royal Avenue and finish up at Custom House Square for live entertainment.
Dozens of striking floats – including a DeLorean from the Back To The Future films and a Tardis from Dr Who – were among the main attractions, coinciding with the day's theme: 'St Patrick – To The Future'.
Despite the theme, many spectators dressed up in the more traditional St Patrick's Day outfits, such as leprechauns.
The parade showcased a brand new Belfast song, premiered by a huge Beat Carnival Street Choir, while X Factor's Shayne Ward entertained crowds at Custom House Square, following performances from Emerald Armada, Sontas, the Tir na nOg Irish dancers and the South Asian Dance Academy.
Taking part in the parade was Kirstie Toman, head of 3D Dance Crew from Lurgan.
More than 80 dancers, some as young as eight, impressed onlookers with their alternative moves.
"It has been a great day for all of us and a great chance to show everyone what we do," she said.
"Leading our dance troupe was choreographer Dior Cullen, who helped put together a great performance. Everyone who saw us seemed to enjoy it, as it was something different."
It was a special day for 25-year-old Miriam Ganz, who was celebrating St Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland for the first time.
She said: "It's been really good and it's fantastic to see everyone out in the street.
"The parade itself was a lot bigger than I thought it would actually be.
"There were so many different acts taking part in the parade and I'm so happy I got the chance to see it all."
Among the spectators was Ballynahinch man Brian England, who attended the day's events with his two young daughters and his niece.
Some of the family's highlights included the dance troupe and floats.
He added: "It was great to see a good mixture of people and floats and it was a brilliant experience for the kids."
Speaking after the parade, Belfast Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir said: "This is certainly a fun, fantastic treat for all the family – from near and far – in Belfast today.
"We have shown the world today that we can put on a show and celebrate with the best of them."
The St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast attracted thousands of spectators yesterday. The theme of the parade was St Patrick – To The Future, and included costumes as well as floats, performers and music. Organised by Belfast City Council, the celebrations were led by 'St Patrick' himself and the Lord Mayor, Mairtin O Muilleoir, and featured a number of eye-catching floats.