With this year’s St Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday, there were celebrations spread over the whole weekend.
Saturday saw 8,000 people marching around Willesden to enjoy the only official St Patrick’s Day parade in London on the day itself. With the council cutting funding after this year, it will be left to Brent’s Irish community to raise the estimated £25,000 needed if this event is to be repeated. Meanwhile, fans of watersports flocked to South London to see 400 boat competition that was the Head Of The River.
On a day which inspired our Canadian cousins to stage their own London riots, many pubs were at maximum capacity from early afternoon onwards as rugby fans piled in to watch the last weekend of the Six Nations, especially England’s match against Ireland.
The largest party of the weekend, the St Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, saw thousands more take to the streets to watch the march and join the party at Trafalgar Square.
Despite (or because of) his ill-judged comments about St Patrick’s Day last week, BoJo attended the event in person. With an eye on upcoming events – not least the Mayoral election – he ignored the initial boos and gave the crowd a broadside of the finest blarney:
“I know the spirit of the Irish community is going to be at the heart of what we do this summer…
“I think (this event) shows the amazing strength of the Irish community in London. We must have tens of thousands of people here today.
“There is an enormously optimistic mood and I hope that some of the spirit we have got here from the Irish community will feed on through to the summer where we are putting on the greatest party, the greatest show on earth.
“Let’s hope that we put the apostrophe into the O’Lympics.”
Yes, he did really say “O’Lympics”. If this is a sign of things to come, perhaps we can look forward to more punny prose during the election proceedings.