Thousands of revellers made the most of the sunshine today to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Derry in style.
A sea of green, white and gold lined the streets of the city centre as the highlight of the day’s festivities, the annual parade, got underway - snaking its way along the back of the quay towards the Guildhall before making its return back to the Council offices.
There was a modern spin on the tale of Ireland’s patron saint - as onlookers saw St Patrick on a motorbike chasing out performing snakes. He was accompanied by Irish dancing fairies and garden gnomes magically brought to life as part of the colourful pageant.
Derry’s Mayor, Councillor. Elisha McCallion, was in the US for a VIP reception at the White House to mark St Patrick’s Day at the invitation of President Barack Obama. Deputy Mayor, Alderman Thomas Kerrigan and Councillor Sandra Duffy attended the Derry festivities on her behalf a range of activities organised across the city and district.
Earlier in the day as part of the Spring Carnival programme, the Apprentice Boys held a Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication carrying the St Patrick’s Cross flag on its annual parade from Society Street to St Columb’s Cathedral, followed by an afternoon of family entertainment in the Memorial Hall.
The main highlight of the St Patrick’s Day Mardi-Gras style celebrations in the city was the Spring Carnival parade themed, the ‘Land of the Little People,’ with hundreds of participants forming a stunning spectacle along Queen’s Quay and Strand Road.
North West Carnival Initiative, In Your Space, Greater Shantallow Community Arts, Bluebell Arts Project and Kabalikat North West together with a host of community arts and performance groups from the city and beyond came together in a magical showpiece street celebration in glorious weather conditions.
Live streamed on the Council’s website, the parade saw the biggest assembly of fairies, gnomes, nymphs and elves in the city singing for Springtime, with St Patrick chasing out performing snakes to make sure it was safe for all the fairy folk to come out and play.
The hour-long Carnival parade featured LegenDerry Irish Dancers and punksters, circus acts, dance and drama, tree sprites, an international team of fairies and nymphs, a pipe band and many other magical musical and theatrical treats. Karan Leonard, Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Festivals and Events Manager, said the influx of tourists was testimony to the city and district’s reputation as an international tourism destination.