St Patrick's Day Parade 2006, Galway City - What a disappointment!
(Photograph is of my son Dáire masquerading as a 'Viking Paddy'!)
This year's parade was dull and lacked imagination. Without the colourful American bands and their pretty majorettes, stylish floats and exotic foreign performing acts, it failed to capture the imagination of the watching crowd. The only international entry was a small group of Breton dancers. The school bands were as always brilliant- but there seemed to be less of them this year. It was also great to see that a new Galway Pipe Band had come into existence. A Celtic city without a traditional musical pipe band would be a sad state of affairs.
Furthermore the Dance troupe comprising locally based Filipinos was quite good. But the other ethnic acts were pathetic. Most notably the Ghanaian entry that comprised 4 men walking under what looked like cardboard car. Embarressing to say the least.
But the worse thing of all is the drink-fuelled trouble that is now so much associated with St. Paddy's night in towns and cities across the country. A youthful 'yob culture' is one of the downsides of the economic boom of recent times.
The St Patrick's Day Parade is 'the' internationally acclaimed symbol of Ireland, a celebration of all things Irish. Yet the best & most exciting parades were always held overseas and never on our native 'Green Shamrock' shores. For too many years, we tended to snigger on those that wore 'green' and dismissed the dressing up as 'paddywackery'.
However I never agreed with this attitude and respected those Americans and British that took to the streets of New York, Boston, London etc to promote the good aspects of Irish culture. They kept it alive during the dark days of the 1960s and 1970s when it was dying out in our homeland. Later, I myself was one of those Irish emigrees that took great pride in promoting in a foreign country a musical heritage that captured the imagination of many non-Irish across the world.