Over 56,000 people attended this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Cork city, and the celebrations were policed unobtrusively but very effectively by dozens of stewards and just over a hundred uniformed gardaí.
Crowds were managed in a friendly but relatively strict manner, with crossing points opened between floats to allow people across the main streets.
There had been rumours that some far right activists intended to disrupt the parade, and dotted on street furniture along the parade route were stickers saying “House the Irish, not the world”.
However, despite some of what one garda source described as “the usual heads” being around the city centre before the parade, no incidents were reported.
Separately, outside the new Easons on Patrick Street, some 20 housing activists gathered for a peaceful demonstration against the Government’s lifting of the temporary ban on evictions at the end of the month.
It was a good-humoured affair, with Martin Leahy performing “Everyone Should Have a Home”, the song he has played outside Leinster House every week for the past year.
Workers' Party councillor Ted Tynan said he was there in full solidarity with those affected by the housing emergency.
Anne-Marie O'Hara, a Tipperary-born criminology student at UCC, said it was terrifying to think of almost 12,000 people in emergency accommodation, and the lifting of the ban would only exacerbate that figure.
"I'm not secure where I live," she said. "I don't call my landlord when we have issues, because they can kick me out in a month if I have too many issues."
Helen Louise Murphy, a Liverpool native who has lived in Cork for over three decades, said she had been in a precarious housing situation for years before getting a council flat and she still has nightmares about her previous circumstances.
"I wasn't able to have a life and get on in life because I was living in places where I could lose my tenancy and I scared all the time," she said.
"Since I've had a proper home, I've been able to finish my PHD, and my point is you can't reach your potential till you've got the most basic home, a place you can live securely.
Margaret O'Regan, a veteran housing campaigner, said Ireland was full of empty buildings and if they were made suitable for human habitation, that would solve a big problem.
"I'm also against the lifting of the eviction ban, because you're sending people into homelessness, that's what they've voted for, they've voted to send people into homelessness, and I find that very callous and cruel," Ms O'Regan said.
"Ireland is one of the richest countries in the world, and there is no economic or logical reason we can't house everybody."
Socialist Party TD for Cork North Central, Mick Barry, noted that there were 14 days to go before the Government lifts the eviction ban.
Rain or shine, festival or no festival, some sights and sounds remain unique to Cork. At the top of Maylor Street, away from his usual pitch on what was on Friday lunchtime an almost deserted Oliver Plunkett Street and even over the din of the parade, Echo Boy Dave Hogan could be heard valiantly shouting “Eeeechoooo”.