Much of the world is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, and countless parades and parties mark the occasion. Dublin plans to outdo the rest with a festival that lasts several days. New York's Empire State Building, the London Eye, the Sydney Opera House and the CN Tower in Toronto will turn green for the day, a colorful ad campaign for Ireland tourism. In Washington DC, leaders of Northern Ireland's main political parties will celebrate the day with President Barak Obama. They can count on applause.
St. Patrick's Day marks the death of the saint on 17 Mar in 460 AD, who, after a vision from an angel, built churches and preached Christianity to the Irish for 30 years until his death. Dublin's St. Patrick's Festival begins on Mar 12 and will "burst at the seams," according to the organizers, with street theatre, Irish music, dance, street spectacles, comedy, film, a treasure hunt and Irish language events. It end with a parade on Mar 17. The highlights of Limerick's events include the Limerick International Marching Band Competition, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2010, and a parade. The heads of Northern Ireland's unionist and republican factions had hit a stalemate in negotiations over the issue of devolved policing powers to the province, but reached an agreement to save the power-sharing government in February. Belfast Assembly First Minister Peter Robinson, of the Democratic Unionist party (DUP), and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, from the republican Sinn Fein will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with US President Barak Obama. Brian Cowen, the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic, who worked with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to help break the stalemate, will be with the group. (Written Feb/10)
Date written/update: 2010-03-17