Eight pageant groups from Ireland and beyond made up this year’s Festival Parade. Each featured their individual interpretations of ‘The Extraordinary World’ theme, transforming our capital’s streets into a kaleidoscope of colour. Festival sponsor, Irish League of Credit Unions, brought Gulliver’s Travels alive with their pageant Lilliput. Spectators were greeted by Gigantic Gulliver who awakens to find himself in Lilliput surrounded by performers wearing blue and white flower backpacks to reflect the Credit Union’s identity. Also part of the performance were 50 energetic drummers and dancers representing the 50 years of Credit Unions in Ireland.
Kildare pageant company Artastic transported us all into a Topsy Turvy World of strangely magical creatures such as talking cats in bowlers hats, candyfloss mops and life-sized dolls.
The Cats Pyjamas based in the West of Ireland, which is run by brothers Peter and Conor Casteby, has been working with the Early School Completion Programme run by Dublin VEC to present their chaotic and imaginative extraordinary world.
Wexford group, Buí Bolg have taken their ordinary world of housework and golf and made it a weird and wacky extraordinary world of giant guinea pigs, polar bears and a lion ringmaster.
Also taking part in the Festival Parade for their fourth year was City Fusion which celebrates the diversity of Dublin City’s cultural landscape. Produced by St. Patrick’s Festival with the support of Dublin City Council, 90 individuals from as far and wide as Belarus to Tanzania came together as one body to shine a light on The Shadows of Colour.
Spraoi from the South East of the country have created their Eggstraordinary World with the help of a dedicated team of 300 volunteers from Waterford and beyond who helped design the giant chicken and eggs that made up this pageant challenged by a group of chefs.
Celtic Mela by Inishowen Carnival Group did delve into the vibrancy of cultures in Ireland today. This pageant features a myriad of flowing back packs, hand painted silk flags, large props and puppet heads, with a vibrant mix of colour, music and imagery from Celtic, Indian and African cultures and featuring over one hundred performers from arts and cultural groups from across North East Donegal.
Also from Donegal, LUXe with their Isadora presentation attempted to achieve utopian heights. The “Babel Tower Travellers” was designed draw us into a world of decorative Gypsy iconography, colour, music and symbolism.
Year on year the Festival Parade attracts performance groups from all over the world and this year will include a Mediterranean flavour. Spanish street theatre company, Sarruga, who are renowned for their giant sculptures inspired by mythical creatures, were part of St. Patrick’s Festival Parade. Their giant insect, ten times the size of humans are primarily made of and decorated with painted heavy duty wrapping paper and acquire a spectacular beauty when illuminated from within or externally.
International marching bands joined the parade from as far a field as India, North Carolina, Louisiana, Bulgaria, Austria, France, Spain and the UK, while representing the Irish marching bands were the Clondalkin Youth band. Not breaking with tradition, the Parade Ceremonial Section was be led by the Army No.1 Band, the Band of An Garda Síochána and Dublin Fire Brigade of Pipes and Drums.
Each year St. Patrick’s Festival Parade is an opportunity to celebrate our culture and heritage on the most prominent national day. This year Ireland continued to lead the way with an unforgettable parade and national celebration transporting us all to ‘The Extraordinary World’!