Northern Ireland news

Parades and parties set for St Patrick Day across the globe

Thousands are expected for the annual parade in Belfast. Picture by Cliff Donaldson

GREEN is the colour as annual St Patrick's Day celebrations have kicked into gear across Ireland and beyond.

In the north, the BEAT carnival will take off from City Hall at noon tomorrow to make its way to Custom House Square.

There will be performances from X Factor's Fleur East, R&B duo Reggie `n' Bollie, London girl group Stooshe, the Belfast Boys' Model Drummers and up tempo traditional band The Rare Aul Stuff.

In Derry and Strabane, the St Patrick's Spring Carnival will be running until Sunday, featuring music, dancing, food and folklore.

The celebrations will run concurrently with the LegenDerry Food Festival and a host of arts and multi-cultural events including Saturday's Ubuntu Global Festival across three stages in Derry city centre.

The National Trust is also inviting people along to the Giant's Causeway for a range of events kicking off today with the Wakey Wakey Finn Children's Trail, which asks little leprechauns to follow the trail to the stones where they will be rewarded with gold.

Nature lovers can also enjoy the fresh spring air at the traditional St Patrick's Day Slemish Walk.

In the Republic, more than 100,000 overseas visitors are expected in Dublin, where the festivities began yesterday.

More than 3,000 artists, musicians, dancers, poets and performers will be taking part in a programme of 30 events spanning four days and nights.

The highlight of Dublin's celebrations, however, will be the annual parade, which will be travelling from O'Connell Street to Westmoreland Street with thousands taking part.

For sports fans, the Ireland Legends will be lining out against England in memory of Anthony Foley for the annual curtain-raiser to the Six Nations clash between the two sides.

The exhibition match will take place at the RDS, on the eve of the potential Grand Slam decider between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium.

Elsewhere, an estimated crowd of 80,000 people is expected to line the streets of Limerick for the annual parade, which will be starting off its journey at noon.

Parades will also be taking place in London, Boston and New York, where the east coast revelers will be braving the snowstorm currently pounding the region.

Tourism Ireland is, as usual, ensuring iconic spots around the globe have a particular emerald hue for the day with its Global Green Campaign.

The London Eye, the Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the One World Trade Center are just some of the sites that will be lit up to mark the occasion.

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