Belfast Telegraph

St Patrick's parade looks to future

Belfast has held one of its biggest St Patrick's Day parades in years.

Many people watched the colourful carnival procession in the city centre - a day before the actual date - and attended a free concert featuring former X Factor winner Shayne Ward at Custom House Square.

Eye-catching floats included a Back To The Future flying DeLorean and a Doctor Who Tardis. A brand new Belfast song was also premiered by a gigantic Beat Carnival Street Choir.

Lord Mayor Councillor O Muilleoir said: "We took the future as a theme because it is important that we concentrate on that and how life can be better for all of us.

"Belfast has really gotten into its stride being seen across the world as a forward thinking, attractive city with many advantages - particularly its young population."

He said it was a day of unity.

"What we wanted to do was, because St Patrick's Day isn't a public holiday, let's have an event everyone can attend.

"All the schools are closed today, there are no places of work really open and I think it's paid off for us."

He added: "It's the biggest turnout I've seen in some years on St Patrick's Day, great colour, lots of green, and what really thrills me is that 700 young people, from right across the city, the Shankill and the Falls, are leading the carnival parade."

Meanwhile, the Great Wall of China has turned green to celebrate Ireland's patron saint.

Lights were installed on the famous landmark, and m ore than 100 buildings and sites around the world are taking part in the initiative.

Brendan Howlin, minister for public expenditure in the Republic, said "global greening" was going from strength to strength as he visited Beijing.

He said: "I am truly honoured to be here to count down to the first greening of the iconic Great Wall of China, or as we Irish call it today, the Green Wall of China."

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