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St. Finbarr's Pipe Band pass the reviewing stand at the St. Patricks Day parade in 1968.
St. Finbarr's Pipe Band pass the reviewing stand at the St. Patricks Day parade in 1968.
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Nostalgia: Patrick's Day parade through the decades

WITH St Patrick's Day parades cancelled across Cork and further afield due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, we decided to take a look through the archives at bygone years and the happy memories associated with parades of the past.

Every year, the highly anticipated annual event has a unique theme.

 Patrick's day Parade Cork 1973

Patrick's day Parade Cork 1973

In this historic year, with Cork central to the country-wide plans to mark the centenary of the War of Independence, the theme of the 2020 Cork City parade was "A City Rising 1920-2020", before the event was cancelled.

In a statement, Cork City Council said the decision was taken in the interests of public safety.

 Patricks day Parade Cork 1982.

Patricks day Parade Cork 1982.

"A risk assessment, based on World Health Organisation guidelines, was carried out by Cork City Council which concluded that based on the demographic of those attending the parade, the close proximity of people attending the event and the duration of the event (among other considerations), Cork City Council is not in a position to provide the necessary assurances in relation to current WHO guidelines," they said.

Previous years have celebrated things like the centenary of women securing the right to vote (2018), Irish myths and legends (2014) and Martime Culture (2010).

In 1985, the dismal weather of March 17 failed to dampen the spirits of the thousands who turned out to celebrate the city's 800 birthday.

At the time, it was largely agreed that it was the biggest and best parade the organisers had turned out to mark the national holiday.

 The St Patrick's Day Parade, Cork, March 17, 1916 makes its way along Grand Parade and onto South Mall.

The St Patrick's Day Parade, Cork, March 17, 1916 makes its way along Grand Parade and onto South Mall.

There was a special purpose to the parade as it marked 100 years since Cork was granted a charter by Prince John in 1185.

The Defence Forces turned out to mark the occasion and the Air Corps honoured the city with a flypast.

Lord Mayor at the time Liam Burke, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Peter Barry, Speaker of US House of Representatives, Thomas 'Tip O'Neil' and Jack Lynch were all present.

Patrick's Day in 1999 was historic too, as, before the turn of the century, Dripsey put the village on the map and established it's own unique parade.

The village got into the record books with the shortest St Patrick's Day parade.

Continuing until 2018, the route of the parade was just 25 yards, going from one pub in the village to the next one.

 The Players Please float which appeared in the St Patrick's Day parade pictured at Academy Street, Cork in 1956.

The Players Please float which appeared in the St Patrick's Day parade pictured at Academy Street, Cork in 1956.

Over the years, St Patrick's Day parades in Cork have become more inclusive, incorporating international groups and floats themed around liberal ideas.

Cork's 1922 parade was particularly historic as it featured the first-ever LGBT float taking part in a St Patrick's Day parade.

The float even won the prize of best new entry.

Commenting on this, LGBT activist Orla Egan explained the float was in response to an American anti-LGBT decision.

"This was organised as a response to the New York and Boston parades banning LGBT floats. It was showing the world that the idea you couldn't be gay and Irish was not true," she said.

Despite the fact that many will be disappointed that the annual carnival of colour won't be passing through the city next, we can bear in mind that there's always next year.