Lithuanian musicians, drum-beating Punjabis and West African dancers used Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday to celebrate their place in a booming Ireland that has become a land of immigrants.
One man dressed as St. Patrick in papal hat and sunglasses did the samba, while another float nearby featured “Miss Panty,” Dublin’s premier drag queen.
The Irish economy has been booming for the past 13 years, drawing immigrants from around the world to the country—and its festivities.
“Nowadays there’s far more color in the parade. It’s great to see all our new Irish from across the world dressed up in green,” said Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who normally spends St. Patrick’s Day in the United States but returned overnight after visiting President Bush in the White House.
The leader of Ireland’s 4 million Roman Catholics, Archbishop Sean Brady, appealed to Ireland to remember the religious roots of the holiday in this rapidly secularizing, heavy-drinking land.
“The challenge for all of us is to be consistent and coherent, not just in honoring Patrick with our lips and our parades, but with our hearts and lives—to honor what he really represents by earnestly trying to embody it in our own lives,” Brady said.