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St. Patrick's Day parades step off in New York, Dublin

Thursday, March 17, 2011
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New York City’s 250th St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off on Fifth Avenue with best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark as Grand Marshal.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. at 44th Street and marches up past St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Throngs of green-wearing marchers and spectators can expect sunshine with temperatures in the low 60s.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral prior to marching in today’s parade.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg got a less than warm welcome at a St. Patricks’ Day parade in Queens. Some parade-goers were angry about the mayor’s joke last month that he usually saw “people that are totally inebriated“ at the American Irish Historical Society in Manhattan. Bloomberg apologized shortly after making the comment.

Meanwhile, about half a million people have packed central Dublin for a St. Patrick’s Day parade that points out Ireland’s current gloomy mood — and seeks to sweep it away for a day.

The procession is the largest of 120 across Ireland, a nation reeling from a three-year recession and a debt crisis that has led to an international bailout.

Today’s parade for the first time is built around a children’s short story by author Roddy Doyle especially written for the event.

His story “Brilliant” tells the tale of how children banish the Black Dog of Depression from Dublin and reclaim the city’s lost funny bone.

Doyle calls it an allegory for Ireland’s current challenges and says he wrote it under the shadow of Ireland’s November bailout.

 
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