Thousands take part in Dublin Pride parade

Former President Mary McAleese said it's a "wonderful expression of what's in people's hearts in Ireland"

Thousands take part in Dublin Pride parade

Participants taking part in todays Gay Pride parade festival in Smithfield Dublin today. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Updated 16.10

Thousands of people have gathered in the capital today to celebrate Dublin Pride.

It's the largest event in Ireland celebrating LGBTQ+ people, and organisers said everyone was welcome to watch or take part - no matter their sexuality.

This year's Pride festival theme is 'We Are Family'.

More than 60 floats and over 30,000 people were expected to take in the Pride parade this afternoon.

The event began with speeches at St Stephen's Green.

The full parade then got under way at 2pm, with marchers travelling towards Smithfield.

Former President Mary McAleese marched in the parade with her son Justin and his husband Fionan Donohoe.

She has also been joined by Minister Katherine Zappone, as well as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's parents.

Image: Andrew Lowth

Mrs McAleese said it's a wonderful occasion, explaining: "I'm so proud of Ireland - we're marching with BeLonG To, and this is the best Ireland I've ever belonged to.

"It's a wonderful expression of what's in people's hearts in Ireland this day. It's fabulous."

Minister Zappone added: "We are living in an Ireland now where it is cool to be gay and lesbian. We are loved and welcomed - we are not shamed."

Members of the armed forces during the Pride Parade in Dublin. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

Various parties and events are also planned at venues across the city this evening and tonight.

To mark the event, Government Buildings on Kildare Street were illuminated in the Pride colours last night, and will be again this evening.

Speaking ahead of today's events, festival organiser Eddie McGuinness says Dublin is one of the few cities in the world where the public can join in and march the Pride route along with the floats.

He observed: "The parade is all about the people themselves - this is about community.

"With our theme this year 'We Are Family', [it's about] the diversity of families... and they're all coming from all over... not only Ireland and Dublin, but actually around the world. That's what we want to really embrace."

There is a number of traffic restrictions and bus diversions in place across Dublin this afternoon to facilitate the parade.