Ireland Fetes St. Patrick

And the rest of the world starts drinking beer at 8am

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Mar 17, 2013 1:18 PM CDT

(Newser) – 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.

A woman wears false flag eyelashes during the St Patrick's day parade through Dublin city centre on St Patrick's day, Sunday, March 17, 2013.   (Julien Behal)
Children dressed as St Patrick make their way to the St Patrick's Day parade in Limerick, Ireland, Sunday, March 17, 2013.   (Peter Morrison)
Children make their way to the St Patrick's Day parade during the St Patrick's Day celebrations in Limerick, Ireland, Sunday, March 17, 2013.   (Peter Morrison)
A father and daughter enjoy the St Patrick's Day parade in Limerick, Ireland, Sunday, March 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
A Leprechaun hangs from a bus mirror during the St Patrick's Day parade in Limerick, Ireland, Sunday, March 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
A man dresses as St Patrick during the St Patrick's Day parade in Limerick, Ireland, Sunday, March 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
A child rides on a pony during the St Patrick's Day parade in Limerick, Ireland, Sunday, March 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Children ride on a pony during the St Patrick's Day parade in Limerick, Ireland, Sunday, March 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
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