The ‘eyes of the world are focused on Ireland’ today as thousands flock to St Patrick’s Day events across the country.
The National St Patrick’s Festival Parade gets underway in Dublin city centre at midday – setting off from the junction of Granby Row and Dorset Street before finishing at Cuffe street two-and-a-half hours later.
Parades are also taking place in Cork, Killarney, Limerick, Waterford, Sligo, and Kilkenny, with smaller events in towns and villages across the country.
Failte Ireland's Head of Festivals Ciara Sugrue told Newstalk the events are “hugely important for Ireland”.
“It is the kick off for the tourism season and the day when all the eyes of the world focus on Ireland,” she said.
“St Patrick’s Festival Dublin is the biggest celebration and delivers and economic impact of €50 million.”
Ms Sugrue said the celebrations “showcase Ireland as a fantastic tourist destination right around the world”.
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Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw will lead the national parade representing the entire Ireland Women’s football Team.
The team was named Grand Marshall in honour of their qualification for this year’s World Cup.
Organisers say it will be the “most ambitious ever, featuring breath-taking new artistic, interactive and aerial elements”.
Meanwhile, a major new opening pageant will feature a collaboration of St. Patrick’s Festival Community Arts pageant with Macnas, Junk Kouture, Discovery Gospel Choir, and a host of community groups.
There is also a Festival Quarter in the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks which hosts a variety of activities for all ages.
On Saturday, there will be a host of free events from 12am to 5pm at the Festival Quarter.
The quarter also hosts the Food & Drinks Village, a daily showcase of Ireland’s incredible produce, arts and crafts and a space for all to relax and connect.
St Patrick’s Day events are worth around €72 million to the Irish economy.
The Dublin Parade will follow the below route:
Granby Row, Parnell Square North, Parnell Square East, O'Connell Street Upper, O'Connell Street Lower, O'Connell Bridge, Westmoreland Street, College Green, Dame Street, Lord Edward Street, Christ Church Place, Nicolas Street, Patrick Street, Kevin Street Upper Kevin Street Lower and Cuffe Street St.
For full programme details, tickets and more see stpatricksfestival.ie.