Posted by & filed under City News, Inner West Independent.

Despite the inclement weather, nothing could dampen the high spirits of the Irish and locals participating in St Patrick’s Day festivities on Sunday in Hyde Park.

The day’s theme, “Sydney celebrating its Irishness”, was evident in the annual parade’s many floats.

Along with the food stalls and numerous bars, initially well stocked with Guinness, were two stages displaying Irish music and dance.

The parade, which comprised of floats, walking groups and marching bands, began at Town Hall and progressed toward Hyde Park.

A popular addition was the float featuring the twelve finalists from the Irish Bachelor of the Year Awards.

People from several nationalities chose to become citizens in ceremonies held on the day.

President of the organising committee, Catherine Crosse stressed the importance of understanding dual cultural identities.

“Many Irish people choose to take part in the citizenship ceremony at the Sydney St Patrick’s Day Parade & Family Day as a way of recognising that although they are becoming Australian citizens; their Irish background will always be close to their hearts.”

The Australian Irish Welfare Bureau, an organisation which supports Irish citizens in Australia, also featured.

President Terence McCaughan said the fundraiser helped support the diverse Irish community, “from backpackers to seniors who have no one to care for them.”

As many as 30 per cent of Australians say they have some sort of Irish ancestry.

Sydney’s St Patrick’s Day, first celebrated in 1810, has become the third largest celebration of the event in the world.

The parade was organised by The Sydney St Patrick’s Day Organisation, a not for profit company.

By Chris Harris