On the second year of celebrating St Patrick’s Day in a non-traditional way, Corkonians enjoyed the sunshine that greeted them yesterday morning.
Some of our most iconic landmarks and amenities were dotted with people having a St Patrick’s Day with a difference. Lining the city centre streets in anticipation of the annual parade was swapped for small gatherings of people soaking up the sun at Peace Park, Bishop Lucey Park and Grand Parade.
Bustling pubs and the sound of trad music travelling across the River Lee seemed a thing of the distant past and the Lee Sessions Trad Trail which usually brings to life the age-old saying ‘ceol, caint agus craic’ was sorely missed by many, musicians and the public alike, and takeaway pints were few and far between with the majority of pubs in the city remaining shut.
The Lough drew a number of people, including larger groups, while the grounds of UCC campus was relatively quiet, with its neatly kept array of flowers trees looking particularly impressive in the sunshine.
Mask-wearing was largely not adhered to across the city with those gathering in larger groups opting not to wear a mask, while those gathering in smaller groups of two to three people seemed to comply with guidelines which state that masks are to be worn in busy outdoor spaces where a lot of people gather or where maintaining 2m distance from others is difficult. Such was the case at the Marina, which has become an increasingly popular destination for people within 5km since the pedestrianisation of the amenity, one of a range of measures put in place by Cork City Council to facilitate social distancing.
There was, for the first time in a long time, a sense of joy in the air as children were seen feeding the ducks, rollerskates were tested for the first time, photographers captured the blooming daffodils against the blue sky, and families cycled.
People strolled along the docklands, where an impressive projection onto the R&H Hall building at Kennedy Quay has been attracting viewers over the last number of days.
The projection, which lit up the Port of Cork come nightfall each night this week, displayed the saying: ‘Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine’ which means ‘in the shelter of each other, we live’, as part of Meitheal, the theme of the Cork St Patrick’s Festival. Over 40 buildings and landmarks were lit green for St Patrick’s Day celebrations, including Shandon Bells, City Hall, Blackrock Castle and the Shakey Bridge. North of the River Lee, people enjoyed the view from the popular Bell’s Field from which some of the city’s well-known landmarks are visible, including St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, St Anne’s Church, UCC’s 42-acres, County Hall, and St Mary’s on the Hill, Church.
The people of Cork were seen to be complying with restrictions and gardaí confirmed to The Echo that there were no incidents to report. Deputy commissioner, policing and security, Anne Marie McMahon, acknowledged “the huge level of compliance and social responsibility demonstrated” on St Patrick’s Day.
Gardaí continued patrolling at public amenities last evening, conducting checkpoints focused on non-essential travel and people exercising outside 5km of their home, road safety activity and large gatherings.