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St Patrick's Day parade paints Birmingham green

Large crowds welcomed Birmingham's St Patrick's Day parade back to the city on Sunday after a five-year absence.

Early morning rain and grey clouds gave way to spring sunshine as the celebration of Irish culture was held in Birmingham for the 50th time.

More than 40 walking groups, 30 floats, marching bands and a dance group from Bolivia were met by thousands of people on Bradford Street.

The parade also included a special tribute to The Pogues singer Shane MacGowan with a rendition of Dirty Old Town to mark his death last November.

St Patrick's Day parade
The parade had not been seen in the city since 2019 after the Covid-19 pandemic and Digbeth roadworks intervened

Parade organiser Maurice Malone, from Birmingham Irish Association, said: "I’m over the moon, absolutely delighted that it's back.

"It's been away for too long and obviously with the pandemic things weren't happening - but it's back. It’s been a long journey to get to where it is.

"It’s the first time the Birmingham Irish Association has taken the parade on so we are the new custodians."

St Patrick's Day parade
Terry Nash, from Birmingham Irish Association, said: "It's absolutely amazing to have it back. It's been desperately, desperately missed."
St Patrick's Day parade
Organisers were keen involve other Birmingham community groups in the celebrations

The parade fell on St Patrick's Day and was the culmination of months of planning, stretching back to last summer.

"We'd been involved in events before but nothing on this scale," said Mr Malone.

"It’s been quite a slog. Obviously the redevelopments in Digbeth have put quite a few obstacles in our way but we’ve overcome them.

"It’s the first time we’ve done the parade, it’s the 50th parade and it falls on St Patrick’s Day. Couldn’t have asked for more really - and it’s a chance to celebrate and showcase our community."

St Patrick's Day parade
Flags representing many Irish clubs and places were waved proudly through Digbeth
St Patrick's Day parade
Green was the dominant colour in Digbeth but the parade delivered a multicoloured scene
St Patrick's Day parade
Several pipe bands, including from West Midlands Fire Service, were at the heart of the parade
St Patrick's Day parade
Festivities were due to last all day in Digbeth with pubs and bars full of revellers
St Patrick's Day parade
The procession started at noon and was still travelling along Bradford Street more than an hour later
Dogs at the parade
It was not just humans who were keen to wear their Irish colours on Sunday

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