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Young reveller enjoys St Patrick's Day parade

Young reveller enjoys St Patrick's Day parade

Young reveller enjoys St Patrick's Day parade

If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. St Patrick’s Day in Belfast did draw crowds into the city centre, but looking back now it was a little bit of a wash out, and that’s not just because of the rain.

The celebration can be a great boost for business, and chance to showcase the city to visitors from around the world.

There’s hardly a city anywhere that doesn’t have some sort of St Patrick’s Day event on the annual calendar.

And the Irish are well know for being able to have a good time.

“The parade had huge numbers but for me felt pretty flat,” Councillor Conor Maskey told Belfast City Council

He said at one stage he felt “there was no incentive to stay,” and “it was easier just to go.”

In many respects he has a point. A few floats, a bit of music, the parade was all over in a matter of minutes.

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And it was a great opportunity for the city, and the families who arrived, to break free from the shackles of Covid and have a proper day of celebration.

Back in 2019 there were concerts in Custom House Square, the parade had substantially more floats and the pubs were packed. This year while the pubs were packed, it was more to do with the weather and the lack of anything else to do.

Perhaps it was a Covid hangover, but if you can’t celebrate St Patrick in Ireland, or Northern Ireland, where can you?

To be fair to organisers, there wasn’t as much time to prepare as possible.

Now there’s a full year for plans to be put in place to scale up the parade and add a little more fun, colour and tradition and involve ore of the community than every before.

A Council report said: “Earlier commitment would assist partnership planning, production, programming development and community/participant engagement particularly in respect of the parade and concert.

“In addition, it allowed no time in attracting additional funding streams, putting in place a framework for worldwide streaming, a more intense, and longer, marketing campaign i.e. tourism package. The short delivery window greatly affected decision making on all projects.”

St Patrick’s a real opportunity to put on a show that visitors and those who live in the city will want to come back to year after year. There a phrase that goes: “They say there are only two kinds of people in the world: the Irish, and those who wish they were.”

The challenge is there now. In 2023 we should be expecting a few more fireworks. Let’s give a new gleam to the Emerald Isle that’ll make other cities green with envy.


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