Never mind the fickle Irish weather. A chilly, damp Dublin celebrated St. Patrick's Day with artistic flair anyway today as the focal point for a weekend of Irish celebrations worldwide. More than 250,000 revelers braved the occasionally snowy, sleety skies to line the streets for the traditional holiday parade, a 2-mile jaunt through the city's heart involving performers from 46 countries. Unusually, 8,000 tourists in town for the festivities led this year's procession in a "people's parade." Many donned leprechaun costumes or deployed banners and flags of their home nations or US states, with the Texans making the biggest impression as they sported "Happy St. Paddy's Day, Y'All!" T-shirts.
One marcher, a 22-year-old engineer from Canada, defiantly showed it wasn't so nippy at all—by doing the hour-long walk shirtless, with only a painted-on shamrock covering his chest. "It's not cold!" Oliver Feniak declared. Today's decision to put tourists in the vanguard was connected to a year-long tourism promotion called The Gathering that is organizing hundreds of clan reunions nationwide in hopes of boosting the economy. The party continues globally: This year the pyramids of Giza, the leaning tower of Pisa, Niagara Falls, and the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio are among dozens of iconic spots going green for the occasion. Want a little less party, and a little more history? CBS has a primer. (Read more Ireland stories.)