After two years of plague, grief and disappointment, St Patrick’s Day parades have returned to Ireland and hundreds of thousands hit the streets to celebrate.
The end of restrictions meant parades could be held as normal - with no social distancing and nor masks required. Instead, marchers and spectators were greeted with the traditional sea of green hats and good humour. Irish flags were in abundance and in some places there was even a hint of sunshine.
In Dublin alone, an estimated 400,000 people turned out to see the parade - headed by Paralympian Ellen Keane and Olympian Kellie Harrington.
"For myself and Ellen to be grand marshals, two female athletes, it's amazing and it shows the strength in female sport, it's always been there," Ms Harrington said.
"I am not just representing myself, I'm representing the people of Ireland and the people of my community. It's not every day that people from the inner city get to be a grand marshal and I've really got the backing of them all and they are all really delighted.”
Another star marcher was Irish American actor John C. Reilly who said the invitation had a “deep meaning” for him:
“This is a big honour for me actually,” he said.
“It might just seem like a goof to just appear at a parade but to me, it has deep meaning as an Irish-American and I know that my father who is somewhere watching right now couldn’t be more proud.
“You know, I have always been a big supporter of Ireland. I have come here many, many times over the years; I have vacationed here, I have worked here but it feels especially important to come here now to let people know that Ireland is open for business again.”
And judging by those tourists Newstalk spoke to on the streets of Dublin, the day had left a lasting impression:
“Everyone seems so friendly!” Swedish tourist Olivia said.
“And the pub culture is even better than I expected.”
“I think just seeing the whole Irish culture,” Bailey from Indiana, USA said.
“And seeing what a big city it [Dublin] is. We’ve been around a lot of the countryside here in Ireland, so I think we’re excited to see what vibes are like.”
And for locals, it was a welcome sign that things were getting back to normal.
“I suppose everybody’s been through a hard time in the past two years, so it’s great to see everybody here,” Michael said.
“The experience is great. It’s packed in here and, as you said, there’s plenty of tourists around. So hopefully everyone will have a good time.”
Main image: Lá Fhéile Pádraig i mBaile Átha Cliath 2022. Picture by: Newstalk.