IRISH communities across Scotland celebrated St Patrick’s Day in typically vibrant fashion, with scores of events taking place across the country as Ireland’s patron saint was remembered. From official events hosted by the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh to locally organised St Patrick’s Day parties, thousands took part in the annual expression of Irishness that has become such an eagerly awaited day for the Irish in Scotland.
The three main festivals in Glasgow, Coatbridge and Edinburgh all drew large numbers, and in Coatbridge an old favourite was planned once again as the annual Fr Ted Quiz took place as part of the festival, with the ‘International Lovely Girls Day’ team emerging victorious. It was an excellent precursor to the rest of the Coatbridge St Patrick’s Day Festival events, which once again showed the strength of Irishness in the North Lanarkshire town.
In Glasgow, Tír Conaill Harps GAC hosted a quiz night in Malones Irish Bar, giving their players and members the opportunity to gather away from the pitch and enjoy the buzz around the St Patrick’s Day events in Glasgow. The club is experiencing a resurgence following the unveiling of big plans for the future and the chance to gather as a group and take a break from the hectic work going on was a welcome one for members.
The St Patrick’s Day festivities in Coatbridge continued with the St Patrick’s Supper Dance in St Patrick’s church hall, with the local community gathering to share a meal and some fine Irish music and dancing.
In Edinburgh, meanwhile, the Irish Consulate hosted the annual St Patrick’s Day reception, welcoming not only Irish Government minister Brendan Griffin TD, but also musicians, dancers and guests from throughout the Irish community in Scotland and their many friends. Irish dance group Siamsoir delighted the crowd with an excellent performance that not only showed the beauty and excitement of Irish dancing but also demonstrated the talent possessed by the Irish community here.
In Coatbridge, at the main St Patrick’s Day Festival event, the local Irish community braved the inclement conditions to come out and celebrate their heritage on Main Street. The hardy souls who shrugged off the wild wind and rain were treated to performances throughout the day which began with music indoors from St Patrick’s CCÉ Coatbridge and then outdoors from St Mary’s Primary School from the town, who performed Amhrán na bhFiann as the event was opened. River City actor Frank Gallagher and Celtic player Ryan Christie (above) made appearances at the festival, wishing everyone a Happy St Patrick’s Day. In Glasgow the St Patrick’s Day Festival saw Merchant Square packed out by families as the city’s Irish community celebrated.
Mass was celebrated in the morning by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia in St Andrew’s Cathedral before the music, song and dance saw the large crowd thrilled by performers including the much-loved St Roch’s Ceili Band. Glasgow’s 2019 Mary From Dungloe, Mairead Gildea, was welcomed by the crowd, while minister Brendan Griffin met Irish dancer Rhianna O’Donnell. Cork choir Cór Gael were in Scotland over the days surrounding St Patrick’s Day and performed at St Patrick’s Church in Edinburgh’s Cowgate, St Mary’s Church, Glasgow, the Irish Consulate’s reception, the Coatbridge St Patrick’s Day Festival and in St Patrick’s Church, Coatbridge.
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PIC: GERARD GOUGH