[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 12 March 2006, 16:31 GMT
Crowds celebrate St Patrick's Day
St Patrick's Day parade 2006
A Saint Patrick on stilts entertained the crowds
Thousands of Londoners have taken to the streets for the fifth annual St Patrick's Day parade.

Irish dancers, floats and bands wound through central London, while Irish band Hothouse Flowers performed in Trafalgar Square.

Water in the square's fountains was dyed green for the day, Irish food was sampled in Covent Garden and a Ceilidh was performed in Leicester Square.

Organisers say celebrations now rival those in New York, Boston and Chicago.

The parade left Park Lane and passed through Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall.

We have got such a great city because people get on so well and we want to enjoy all the parties that we can have
Mayor Ken Livingstone

Among more than 4,000 performers were singer-songwriter Gemma Hayes and Brian Kennedy who is to represent Ireland at this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Both Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern praised the event, which recognises London's large Irish community - a third of Irish people in Britain live in London.

London mayor Ken Livingstone told BBC London: "It's a great day out.

"It's not just St Patrick's Day, we celebrated Russian New Year in January, Chinese New Year and this year, for the first time, we will celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid in Trafalgar Square.

"We have got such a great city because people get on so well and we want to enjoy all the parties that we can have."




SEE ALSO:
London celebrates Irish culture
13 Mar 05 |  London
St Patrick's travels 'like rock tour'
16 Feb 05 |  Northern Ireland
Lively St Patrick's Day festivities
17 Mar 04 |  Northern Ireland
St Patrick's festival kicks off
06 Mar 04 |  England


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific