A tear in time is the feeling of yesterday – as if all clocks were back to a pre-Covid era when crowds of strangers bustled, cheered and laughed, was the norm and the phrase “machinery”. spread super” has never been thought of.
rom started to end, the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin was in full swing. Gardeners will have to warn us about excessive jubilation in public if this continues.
I was part of the fun parade, joining a team from the Dublin Cycling Campaign for “Joyce-Cycle”, celebrating James Joyce’s centenary Ulysses. We roam the streets in Edwardian garb, me in a tricycle, or tricycle, with tireless Mary Kennedy (not Mary Kennedy) doing all the work and I do the action. Her Queen of Sheba.
We’ve got some killer props among our entourage. A little girl on a unicorn scooter is a crowd pleaser. Her family’s pet dog, Baci, a 10-year-old chocolate Labrador, apparently didn’t read the memo about staying in place during the parade and kept hanging around the fence to be petted. cuddle. We also have a black cat on a bike – Joyce loves cats and has superstitious tendencies towards black cats – but this is a cyclist in costume.
We were at the end of the procession, behind a number of pixies wearing leaf hats, and expected the crowd to get the most out of the spectacle when it was our turn. But we drew cheers and waves of approval. It was incredibly gratifying – until we noticed a man had joined us right behind us, holding up a sign that reads “Ireland stands with Ukraine”. The audience cheered in support.
He’s been a great companion, ever since the Dublin Cycling Campaign, all wearing sunflowers or colors of blue and yellow to signal support for Ukraine. At College Green, several girls spoke to him in Ukrainian, and he replied in the same language.
Navigating the route, even on bicycles, was a slow process – bottlenecks kept us at junctions (marching bands always turned corners), while dancers and other performers must have a few minutes to perform their procedures. On O’Connell Street, a volunteer waits with a sign that says “Begin the show”. We gaped. Not presure! Directly ahead are dignitaries – including Sir Mayor Alison Gilliland and President Michael D Higgins.
Those logjams allow for crowd interaction. “What’s the best thing about Saint Patrick’s Day?” I asked some kids. “Breakfast pancakes,” said one boy. “On a break from school,” said another.
This is a multiracial extravagance, and those born outside of Ireland tend to dress best. Apparently, they made the “go green” advice central. These are the audience with green eyeshadow and lipstick, temporary fake tattoos, orange beardsbishop’s green gloves, leprechaun hats, shamrock-patterned coats and skirts – and a rosary behind a shamrock necklace.
American marching bands in their chocolate box soldier uniforms added a certain va-va-voom, playing pop music rather than the trombone-heavy Oompa Loompa music typically associated with them.
The other hits are true stilts, though the drag queens are no slouch in their high-shoe walking. They even try to dance, or at least sway to Gloria Gaynor’s I am myself. It’s like being in a glamorous wedding.
They flinched a bit when Mary and I asked if they were really going to walk the route – the entire route – in those heels. We specify how long. They trembled a little more. But they rallied to distribute their inner Molly Flowers, making the surest affirmation: “yes, I said yes I will.”
Have you ever seen a few red and white toads running like clappers? What would you do if you had been waiting in line near me when two young wandering practitioners had to speed up the street to join their gang because the starting signal had gone.
Waiting is a miracle. I passed an army of unfathomable hats. What do you represent? We are DNA. Oh! It’s the double helix on their heads.
Another group with the Mohicans and tartan trousers that are easily identifiable are the punk rockers. I was baffled by the company that preceded us, who turned out to have planets tied to their baseball caps, as you do, and were making the case for climate justice.
A group that looks like a particularly cool group of people working in Dickensian costumes.
Turns out they were Spraoi, the spectacle and street art company from Waterford. “We are crows,” they said. If only there were time to quote Edgar Allan Poe about them.
Frontline services marched in this parade. The groups in traditional costumes represent every culture, from Mexico to Venezuela as well. The group of Indians is hiding the Horslips, a surprisingly efficient pair. The Pride float has many rotating halos Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
Back with my cyclists, I see Norma Burke revitalizing Sylvia Beach, bookseller and publisher has launched Ulysses world in 1922 after Joyce – a frequent visitor of her Paris store – sighed that it would never be published.
The first edition had only 1,000 copies, and even then Joyce seemed to think she would be left with unsold stock in hand. Next to Norma is the Dublin Cycling Campaign’s artistic director Donna Cooney, navigating a matching bed for Molly Bloom. Except it has Joyce in it.
The tricycle I’m riding on, by the way, belongs to Cycling Without Age and is used on Saturday mornings in Dublin’s St Anne’s Park to get people with limited mobility out.
There are other places in the capital, but this is one of two where Colm O’Brien raises funds. “They get a whiff of scent, see children and dogs running around, talking – suddenly it opens up people’s lives,” he said. “It’s a way of taking care of people in the community.”
Long before we reached the end of the parade, our wrists were already hurting from waving – I discovered a new sympathy for heads of state. But what’s the point when you’re marking a return to normalcy?
Let’s hope the “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirts and hats, which were more evident yesterday, do not lead to complications.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/i-had-a-moving-seat-at-the-heart-of-dublins-parade-now-i-know-how-heads-of-state-feel-41459728.html I had a moving seat in the center of Dublin’s parade. Now I know how the heads of state feel