Birmingham celebrates St Patrick's Day parade

Organisers praised the good weather and said the crowd could be the biggest ever

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Some 80,000 people lined the route of Birmingham's St Patrick's Day parade in what is believed to be the biggest event of its kind in the UK

The city, which has a large Irish community, has hosted an annual St Patrick's parade every year since 1996.

As ever, the parade centred around Digbeth and the Irish Quarter, although it was delayed after a crash on the M6 caused congestion into the city.

Live music, street fairs, a market and children's events were also held.

Analysis

There was a real party atmosphere in Digbeth, with plenty of people getting into the St Patrick's Day mood, even if it was a day early.

Organisers couldn't have hoped for better weather and it showed, with huge crowds lining the route of the parade.

I met a few parade first-timers, as well as old hands.

The celebrations don't stop with the parade, however, with live music taking place at the Irish Centre and pubs across the city.

This year's theme was Irish myths and legends.

The parade, which featured hundreds of floats, vintage vehicles, carnival costumes and an Irish dragon, took place from 12:00 GMT to 14:00, although other celebrations were planned into the night.City celebrates St Patrick's parade

'Best weather'

Michael Grimes, a student at the University of Birmingham, said the city had a "huge Irish culture".

"Derry's a good craic on St Patrick's Day, but nothing like this. This is ridiculous," he said.

Organisers praised the good weather and said the crowd could be the biggest ever.

Mark Lennon, a member of the festival committee, said: "I've been living in Birmingham for three years now and this is my third festival and parade.

"It's been dry and sunny for each of the three, but this is probably the best of the weather I've seen.

"The third biggest parade in the world, behind New York and Dublin. I've been to both of those parades and Birmingham is every bit as good."

Most of the road closures around Bradford Street, Birchall Street, Chapel House, Stoneyard and Green Street have now reopened.

St Patricks Day piper
St Patricks Day parade
St Patricks Day parade
'Built Birmingham'

Birmingham Library is being lit up in green over the weekend to mark the city's Irish connections.

With an Irish quarter and an Irish Centre, as well as community groups, organisers said Irish immigrants had made a big impact on Birmingham over the years.

"They helped to build Birmingham for a start," said Anne Tighe, head of the festival committee.

"All immigrants, including the Irish, have had an impact on the city and we're welcoming everyone to come and celebrate St Patrick's Day with us."

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